Biocontrols are far from perfect, as loosestrife-munching beetle shows
Posted by David Brooks | Tuesday, July 31, 2012
My Telegraph column this week looks at beetles that have been released in the area regularly for several years to help control purple loosestrife, a pretty but harmful aquatic weed. My conclusion: biocontrol is a good idea but very hard to do well, and easy to do badly.
A recent report from the Nashua River Watershed Association, which has been spearheading these efforts since 2008, indicated that loosestrife has declined by an average of 30 percent at sites in the Massachusetts portions of the river where beetles were established.
All this is an impressive accomplishment, and it’s great to see ponds and wetlands that were once pink with loosestrife now free of it. But a 30 percent reduction is hardly a killer blow, particularly with a weed that can spread quickly.
You can read the whole column here - and since it has my sterling prose, you definitely should!