Dr. Julie Jedlicka, associate professor in the biology department, conducted research at Spring Mountain Vineyard in St. Helena, California and surrounding areas. Her research consisted of how nest boxes increased Western Bluebird populations and if those birds were providing a significant pest control service.
Her findings confirmed that Western Bluebirds were eating a significant amount of pests, and a leafhopper closely related to the Blue-green Sharpshooter, indicating that the birds would very likely be important predators for this pest insect.
More than 800 Western Bluebird nest boxes have been installed on Spring Mountain Vineyard’s 225 acres of vines. They are attracting Western Bluebirds to help control the Blue-green Sharpshooter population, a common vector for the devastating Pierce’s disease.
Over the years of managing these boxes Spring Mountain Vineyard has seen a dramatic drop, and even elimination in some areas, of the Sharpshooter population.
Check out this awesome project!