The Rocky Mountain Front Weed Roundtable’s Biological Control Program is a robust landscape-wide, long-term project.
The goal of biological control is not eradication, but the use of living agents to suppress vigor and spread of weeds. The Roundtable has been involved in the release and monitoring of millions of insects to combat weeds.
Over the past 13 years, the Roundtable has evolved as the primary organizing force for extensive capture and re-release of established biological control insect populations, as well as an organizing agent for the funding, release, and monitoring of purchased biological control insects. Large, well-established weed infestations pose a management problem from the standpoint of both efficacy and cost-effectiveness. Biological controls are a proven, cost-effective, and environmentally compatible means of managing these infestations for some species (i.e., leafy spurge and spotted knapweed). Biological controls work by limiting seed production or plant viability, thereby limiting the weed’s ability to spread.
We are committed to strategic implementation and oversight of this management tool to ensure effectiveness. Currently, we are monitoring 10 permanent knapweed weevil transects across our project area. With repeated releases of the spotted knapweed root-boring weevil and the implementation of a biological control monitoring program, the Roundtable works to better understand the impact of this weevil on weed infestations along the Front. Beginning in 2016, we will also be monitoring leafy spurge flea beetle sites.
Photos: Jeff Van Tine and The Rocky Mountain Front Weed Roundtable.