State officials are counting on a tiny Minnesota wasp to eradicate the glassy-winged sharpshooter, which is threatening California's $45 billion wine grape industry.
The state Department of Agriculture is expected this week to approve the release of the wasp in Riverside, Kern and Ventura counties. The wasp (known as Anagrus epos) is only one-thirty-second of an inch long but it is deadly to the sharpshooter.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter transmits Pierce's disease, which kills grapes as well as almond and citrus trees and oleanders. Half of Temecula's three-thousand acres of grapevines were destroyed by Pierce's disease in 1999 and 2000.
Fourteen counties--primarily Riverside, Kern, Ventura and
Tulare--are currently infested.
The introduction of the wasp is the latest in a series of
pest-control efforts that use one insect to kill another.