Thank you for your interest and willingness to participate in this exciting new program to raise Galerucella leaf-feeding beetles to help control purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), a very invasive non-native plant. This is an excellent opportunity for community involvement and for educational programs for students of all ages.
Galerucella beetles can be field reared to release in a new wetland where management of purple loosestrife is desired, or to supplement a population of the beneficial insects that may have been introduced into a wetland previously. We initiated rearing trials at the University of Connecticut during 1999 and produce approximately 30,000 new Galerucella beetles each year at our research farm. The beetles are raised on purple loosestrife that is planted in three-gallon pots and placed in children's wading pools. Each set of 10 Galerucella beetles that are introduced onto the "caged" plants (purple loosestrife plants covered with sleeve cages) produce an average of 1,300 new offspring in only five weeks between May and June. Researchers at the University of Minnesota developed the self-explanatory rearing guide to assist you with field rearing of the beetles. This information is also available for downloading from the Internet at http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG7080.html
The rearing supplies on the list are relatively inexpensive to purchase or you may have alternative supplies on hand that can be used. For example, NOSEEUM netting or other closely woven materials can be used to construct the sleeve cages, provided that the fabric weave is small enough to prevent the adult and immature beetles (also called larvae) from escaping and the material is light in color to allow sunlight through. Directions to sew the sleeve cages can be found in the rearing guide. NOSEEUM sleeve cages can also be purchased pre-made at a cost of approximately $12.00 per cage plus shipping (price estimate) out of New York from the following source:
124 HaIler Blvd.
Ithaca, NY 14850
We will provide starter sets of Galerucella beetles in late May or early June that you can use to introduce onto the caged purple loosestrife plants. Please contact me before April to request a starter set of the biological control agents for your rearing project. You can pick up the Galerucella beetles at the University of Connecticut in Storrs or you can collect insects from one of several field insectaries located throughout Connecticut if that is more convenient for you.
If you know of a site invaded by purple loosestrife where biological control is desired, please contact me so that we can begin the required steps to set up the site prior to release of the beneficial insects this summer. Please note that a signed consent form is required from the land owner. The number of new sites initiated each year also depends on availability of the Galerucella beetles.
Thank you again for your participation, and I look forward to working with you. Please contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.
Donna R. Ellis, Extension Educator, Department of Plant Science Unit 4163,
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-4163
Telephone (860) 486-6448
FAX (860) 486-0534
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the IPM and CIPWG websites for more information on purple loosestnfe biological control, invasive plants and other materials.
last updated January 12, 2004
Information on our site was developed for conditions in the Northeast. Use in other geographical areas may be inappropriate.
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