Purple Loosestrife

Battle against beetle continues in 2011

April 28, 2011 // 0 Comments

The beetle battle against purple loosestrife that began in May of 2007 continues in May of 2011. Like with so many non native invasive species “control” is all we have to work with. In this case that is the good news, because in so many others we have no control at all or if we do it is a chemical control. But we need to work to keep the news good and the invader under control. I want to share a little of what I have learned from this effort over the past four years. First that there are always some folks ready and willing to get involved on a worthy project. Absolutely great and I thank each and every person and organization for their effort! One thing that had me wondering almost from the beginning is if the control is so good why is it I can go back every year to some of my original sources for beetles for more beetles. I remember going back to one very infested spot one year to gather some beetles and there were absolutely none to be found or purple loosestrife. The only variable I noticed was that when there is around a foot of water the Loosestrife is growing in the beetles were not very effective but beetles are generally there. When there is little water or at a shore line the beetles were effective and not there the next year. The good news from this is I/we can always get beetles for spreading around. Why would that be because in most cases the beetles we place effectively reducing the infestation allowing native plants to regain their natural strength? I contacted an expert at MSU and shared what I am experiencing and found that is their experience too. It has something to do with the winter hibernation of the beetle and I’m not sure hibernation is the correct term but I suspect you understand what I mean. It is important to understand and remember that this beetle eats absolutely nothing else so eats itself out of house and home. So here we go again in May 2011 spreading the Purple Loosestrife control beetle Gallerucella calmariensis, and volunteers are the key again. This program has lots of […]

The beetle battle against purple loosetrife

May 14, 2009 // 0 Comments

An imported beetle that eats an invasive plant is being used to restore native wetland species such as cattails. Jim Biener and Bob Stegmier of the Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America are looking for some friends with good eyesight and steady hands to again collect these beetles and spread them into loosestrife infested wetlands. Jim, 361-1353, coordinates the efforts in the townships of Cannon and Grattan. Bob Stegmier, 866-4769, coordinates the efforts for the Ike’s and the Rouge River Watershed Council in the Rogue River watershed.   Purple Loosestrife is an unwanted “beauty” in our midst. This statement so definitely describes the non-native Purple Loosestrife wetland plant in North America. From a good beginning in 2007 volunteers will again be in the wetlands colonized with the Gallerucella calmariensis beetle collecting the beetle as they emerge from the soil and beginning their spring eating and mating process. The aim of these volunteers is to collect beetles before they lay their eggs and transplant them into areas with P.L. so the eggs will be hatched in the new area. That way two beetles transplanted produces 500 new larva to eat loosestrife blossoms and seeds making our effort very effective.   The Rogue River Watershed Council (RRWC) with the guidance of Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League will continue to collect and spread the Purple Loosestrife eating Gallerucella calmariensis beetle in the Rogue River watershed. This is a volunteer effort to control the spread of the non-native Purple Loosestrife wetland plant. Good progress is being steadily made from the south of the watershed northward. While this plant is pretty with its tall slender purple spikes it is still very much a plant that if left uncontrolled would significantly alter the native plant structure of our wetlands. Native Michigan wetland species find very little value in the plant. The beauty is short lived lasting only a few weeks in July before the blossom and stalk structure dies and turns brown. The damage continues all growing season long as the plant crowds out native plants. The result is that Michigan native wetlands species loose their “preferred” living habitat.  Volunteers are needed and folks throughout the watershed are invited to volunteer to help in this […]