Sterilizing Napa's Enemies

Posted by The Wine Whore |

After facing heavy criticism for spraying pesticides, Napa has turned to a new method for destroying pests. Get ready for this... In an effort to eliminate or reduce the impact of the apple moth, they are actually releasing MORE MOTHS. Before you throw your arms up, let me explain. These moths have one characteristic that differentiates them from their destructive counterparts: sterility. Their inability to reproduce not only renders them unable to inflict damage upon vineyards but also has the added benefit of sexually distracting the destructive, non-sterile moths.

Sounds like a brilliant idea at first but I have to wonder what else will be affected by the introduction of these moths? I am a firm believer that anytime you interfere with nature's balance, you run the risk of causing a negative change reaction in the future. Of course, I'd rather introduce these sterile moths than spray a bunch of toxic chemicals on my wine, but I still question whether or not this will cause some sort of downstream affect.

When is it okay to play God to protect our vineyards?

(This message brought to you by The Wine Whore)

Photo Credit: Press Democrat

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corkdork said...

I see it as a great longer-term solution than pesticides (which, really, just push natural selection in favor of pesticide-resistant moths). The only major downside I can see is an increase in the population of predators that prey on the moths (likely birds, which will provide their own bit of fun in the vineyards as well), but even that will subside quickly as the moth population is reduced.

The Wine Whore said...

Hello corkdork! Is there a negative side affect of having too many of these moths? Will moth balls go up in sales? :)


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