Families fear for future as wasps destroy livelihood

flickr by Daniel J. Escalera

ONE thousand five hundred families are watching pesky insects from China destroy their future as trees are felled and branches burned in attempt to stop them spreading.
So far, more than 1,000 trees have been destroyed by chestnut gall wasps in the Genal Valley in the Ronda mountains, the third largest chestnut producing area of Spain.
Although not yet spotted in the lower part of the valley, the gall wasps have caused considerable losses for producers in Igualeja, Juzcar, Parauta and surrounding villages, where 1,500 families depend on chestnut production for a living.
Affected trees on private properties have had to be pruned all the way down to the trunks, yet many growing wild have not been treated, farmers organisation representative Francisco Boza said, and some owners have not yet checked all their trees.
Producers are speaking of a lost year, and are also aware that future crops will also be affected. They continue to ask for another insect, the Torymus sinensis, which is believed to combat the gall wasps and is being experimented with in Ojen, to be brought in but this must be authorised by the Junta de Andalucia regional government.


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