Full-on bug wars may soon be breaking out in a vineyard near you.
After decades of supplying beneficial insects that help protect Ventura County’s citrus and avocado crops, Santa Paula-based Associates Insectary is now launching a wasp to help protect California’s grapevines.
The vine mealybug, discovered in Santa Barbara County in 2000, is a formidable pest found in grape-growing regions throughout the world. It was first discovered in California in Riverside County and has since dispersed throughout the state, destroying grape crops and spreading plant diseases among the vines.
But now, Associates Insectary, one of a handful of such businesses in the Tri-Counties, is introducing the commercial supply of Anagyrus pseudococci, a gnat-sized parasitic wasp that preys on the vine mealybug.