I got a press release today from the fine people at the American Vineyard Foundation about the $1 million in funding they contributed to the total $2 million raised for vineyard research, which is awesome, but not necessarily blog material, until I see that “mealybug sex pheromones” are among the projects considered. YES! I’ve been on a mission to get more sex on the blog, so this is GREAT.
But, are mealybugs mainstream enough to write about? What about their sex pheromones? To find the intersection of these terms, I Google “Paris Hilton”, and clearly get in over my head. Stepping up my game a bit, I check my copy of “The New Wine Lover’s Companion” to see if the term is included. DAMMIT. What about sex? Nope. This book is useless to me today. What about “The Oxford Companion to Wine”? BOOYA! Mealybug city!
Wait, what is a mealybug, and why are they worth research dollars? Well, according to “The Oxford Companion to Wine”, they are “small, white insects of the family Cicadellidae which suck vine sap…first identified in California’s Coachella valley in the early 1990s…” It is clear that this is the work of hippies, who brought the bug to the area as a result of the bug living in their hair and clothes while attending concerts at what is now the legendary Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival site. I’m sure of this, almost, but pretty sure…
The bug is the enemy of vineyards, but apparently not as bad as some other pests. “Mealybugs do not cause significant commercial damage by their sap-sucking action alone…” There are indirect effects which include the production of sugary sap that can lead to fungal growth and they can also spread Leafroll Virus, which like the name implies, isn’t good.
There, how’s that for a sexy blog post?