Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tiny Heroes! Gtriguttatus, et al…

“… I had scrambled up the earthen rampart and stood upon its crest....And scattered about it …were the Martians--DEAD!-- …slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.”
HG Wells, War of the Worlds

This article about the release of tiny parasitic wasps is from the Bakersfield area. I still hold out hope that these little fellas will stem the sharpshooter spread northward. More information can be read here at the website of the California Dept. of Agriculture's spring sharpshooter update.

Gtriguttatus (0.5 mm long aprox.)

(pronounced "guh-tri-gut-taht-uhs"...I think)

They are really tiny, some smaller than a grain of rice, but quite happy to fly about and lay their own eggs on the egg masses from the sharpshooters. When the wasp eggs hatch they feed on the sharpshooter eggs, thus disrupting the pest’s reproduction cycle. Several different species are being used, depending where the release is needed. (I thought I'd include this post right after the GMO post - not because these wasps are GMO bred, but because the GMO post had me focusing on environmental issues in general this morning.)

With the wetter than normal year we've just had (or are still having, since it's still raining!) we'll be seeing more problems with the sharpshooters...

Generally they migrate using riparian corridors, and with this much extra water available, and so late in the season (July 1st thru June 30th is the annual rain season, and the Sonoma County Airport got 1.25" of rain Sunday, and perhaps almost an inch again yesterday and last night...), there'll be plenty of water to help them thrive and expand. [Really, it's May 10th, and the forecast for the Sierras last night was for up to 2 FEET of SNOW!]

Now, if they can only teach these tiny heroes to swim...or snowboard...


Post a Comment

<< Home