Today’s Solutions: December 09, 2022

Winemaking is a delicate and millennia-old craft. To achieve a desirable product, vintners have to pay close attention to soil, rain, heat, and sunlight. Mice and gophers are other problems that vintners often turn to rodenticides to solve. In a bid to provide a more natural solution, a team of students at Humboldt State University in California is testing the efficacy of a centuries-old practice: using owls to hunt pesky rodents.

As part of the long-term study, the researchers placed around 300 owl nest boxes in random places through vineyards in Napa Valley. The aim of the study is to test how effective owls are at removing pests and if they can offer a feasible natural alternative to pesticides.

The students surveyed a total of 75 wineries in Napa Valley, 80 percent of which have reported a difference in rodent control since they started using the owl nest boxes. During the nesting season — which is around four months — barn owls spend about one-third of their time hunting in the fields. On average, a family of barn owls eats about 1,000 rodents during the nesting season.

So far, the study has revealed that the owls were doing a pretty good job at reducing the number of gophers in vineyards, while the number of mice hasn’t been affected. With that said, the key part of the study is whether the owls are leading to a decrease in rodenticide use in Napa Valley. According to the researchers, that is indeed the case, with most of the participating vintners reporting using no poison since they introduced the owl next boxes.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Sweden to introduce off-grid communities that fully sustain themselves

To ensure that communities around the world become future-proof and resilient in the face of climate change, it’s essential to create development models that ...

Read More

The Climate Diet: A guide to living for a greener future

We at The Optimist Daily are big fans of lifestyle changes that contribute towards slashing greenhouse gas emissions and offer a sense of autonomy ...

Read More

Okra: the surprising hero in the fight against microplastics

According to new research from scientists at Tarleton State University in Texas, okra — you know, the green, finger-shaped pod that is often added ...

Read More

White House and 11 East Coast states partner to bolster offshore wind power

On Thursday, the White House announced that it will partner with 11 East Coast states to bolster offshore wind energy.  This arrangement, called the ...

Read More