Protecting wine, one wasp at a time...
Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's showers of. . . POO?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science,
saying, it COULD happen. So says Mark Hoddle, from the University of California at Riverside.
He's already battled the nightmare, in Tahiti.
There, monstrous populations of plant-devouring insects called glassy-winged sharpshooters wreaked havoc for years.
The housefly-sized pest eats up to ONE HUNDRED times its body weight-that's like us eating an elephant--EVERY DAY. It resulted in widespread damage and actual SHOWERS of insect droppings.
Hoddle bested the pest with a tiny wasp who has just one goal in life: to inject its eggs into sharpshooter eggs.
When the wasp's larvae hatch, they eat egg for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then they emerge as new wasps looking for more sharpshooter eggs.
Six months after releasing fourteen thousand of the little warriors, the sharpshooter population plummeted by NINETY-FIVE percent.
Which is good news for wine country. The sharpshooter was spotted in Napa Valley early 2007.
You don't WANT to have to say, "This merlot. It has a delicate nose, and charming bouquet of, what is it. . . POO?" Didn't think so.