No matter where you live in Washington State, there are invasive weeds that plague the land, from the smallest of backyards to the largest of farm acreage.
A great deal of research is looking at alternative ways to control weeds, rather than using chemical sprays that could end up in our rivers or groundwater aquifers. One of the most promising methods is the use of biological controls: the introduction of insect species that destroy targeted weeds.
Foster Creek Conservation District, based in Waterville, has teamed up with WSU Extension and Douglas County to provide farmers and ranchers with invasive-weed-devouring insects. This effort is part of a comprehensive weed-control program that includes cultural controls and planting competitive beneficial plants.
|Dale Whaley with WSU Extension releases M. janthinus for Dalmatian toadflax|
Farmers in Douglas County are now using five biological control insect species as part of an overall strategy to control and eradicate Dalmatian toadflax, diffuse knapweed, Canada thistle, and common mullen.
Within the past year, Foster Creek Conservation District and WSU Extension distributed 25,000 insects, working with over 100 landowners. They also collected GPS data on release sites and created maps that will aid in the research and evaluation of this alternative method of weed control.