An invasive insect called the Asian citrus psyllid is wreaking havoc in Florida as it spreads Huanglongbing, otherwise known as citrus greening disease. Growers are so worried that they are trying to genetically modify orange trees so they are resistant to the threat.
But in California, they’re trying a different approach — biological control. Mark Hoddle, an invasive species expert at the University of California, Riverside, has brought wasps from Pakistan to California, hoping that they will take on the Asian citrus psyllid. Female wasps lay eggs in the psyllids, and when the eggs hatch they eat them from the inside.
Predatory wasps are already being used in Michigan and other places to control emerald ash borer populations, and some are hoping that a similar approach will work by using tiny flies to control fire ants in Texas.
This video shows scientists releasing the wasps in 2011:
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