Monday, July 11, 2011

California Deploys Wasp Army to Counter Merciless Apple Moth Threat [Bugs]


California Deploys Wasp Army to Counter Merciless Apple Moth ThreatIn the unceasing war between man and nature, the ranks of homo sapiens is about to use a dirty trick—using the natural world against itself. Californian agricultural officials are sending in wasps as instinctive mercenaries.

The particular variety of wasp is tiny, possesses no stinger, and doesn't wear boat shoes. What it does have is an insatiable appetite for the eggs of apple moths, which pose a serious threat to Californian crops. The plan is to let the wasps act as nature commands them, chewing up and laying eggs inside the moths' own eggs, wiping out the predatory babies.

But not everyone is excited, PhysOrg reports (other than the understandably nervous moths). The artificial introduction of a new predator could have unforeseen ecological results: "Any intervention in an ecosystem has a consequence," explains a rep from the California Health Initiative. "Whoever likes to eat the wasps will rush over to the area where the wasps are released. But once the wasps die out after their short lifespan, the predators will still be hanging around." So then how will we get rid of those predators? Probably larger wasps, or some sort of dinosaur. [PhysOrg, Photo: Pefkos/Shutterstock]

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