90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Can One Insect Save An Industry?

It’s just a tiny brown wasp, smaller than a grain of rice, but experts believe a little bug may be able to save California’s $1.8 billion citrus industry from an insect that has already decimated Florida’s orange groves.

The Tamarixia Radiata is a predator from Pakistan that scientists are hoping will help eradicate the Asian Citrus Psyllid, an invasive insect that spreads a disease that kills citrus trees and causes economic and environmental problems.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • David Robertson

    Of course introducing a new non-native species is potentially fraught with peril and must be done judiciously.   Furthermore, when the population of an introduced predator finally come into balance with the population of its prey, there’s a likelihood that genetic diversity and evolutionary changes will allow the predator to diversify its prey options so that it is no longer restricted to preying exclusively on its “intended” victims.  However, it should be kept in mind that citrus and citrus pests are introduced non-natives and releasing these parasitoids may be just reacquainting an original predator with one of its original prey species.

    Also, a (gentle) pronunciation correction, Robin:  adelgid is pronounced with a soft “g” like a “j”:  a-DEL-jid.

  • http://belizespicefarm.com/ Dr. Mathew

    Hi
    Great program. The person responsible for finding this wasp  saved billions of dollars,a great industry and millions of jobs world wide.
    I have e mailed your link to the CEO of Belize Citrus association and CEO of Citrus products of Belize.
    Thanks,
    Thomas Mathew ,Hamptonville ,NC
    Citrus and spice farmer in Belize

  • Drmathew

    Like I said below the importance of discovery of this Wasp is probably the best thing ever happened to citrus Industry. This morning I was reading the editorial and  other articles about the greening disease which has devastated the Industry globally. The most impact is in Brazil and Fl where most of the citrus is grown.
    There is no cure for HLB. Even if you plant a healthy seedling in a grove to bring it to production is very difficult.  Using large amount of insecticide systemic and foliar will only make a dent in the fight against this disease.
    I believe parasitic wasps have been imported before  to fight other citrus pests example Leaf miner. Ofcource all precautions are to be taken. For every decision there is a negaive side.
    Thoms mathew
    A citrus and spice farmer in Belize

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 21 Comment

Remembering Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter

We remember the boxing champion, who was twice wrongly convicted of murder, with his longtime friend and defender.

April 21 2 Comments

‘Wait Wait’ Host Peter Sagal Runs Boston Marathon As Guide

For the second year in a row, the host of NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" is running with a legally blind athlete.

April 18 12 Comments

When Your Life Is On Fire, What Would You Save?

Erik Kolbell's new book asks what's most important to us in life -- loved ones, possessions, personal beliefs and more.

April 18 3 Comments

Adrianne Haslet-Davis Becomes Advocate For Amputees

The professional ballroom dancer reflects on the struggles and triumphs of the year since the marathon bombing.