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Leafy Spurge Biological Control Information & Photo Resource Gallery

This separate gallery contains three different resource sections. The first is an extensive collection of images. It includes images of the biological control agents, leafy spurge, infestation sites, and research and distribution aids. The second resource is a collection of profiles for each of the biological control agents and for leafy spurge. These profiles, in pdf format, contain in-depth scientific, distribution and impact info. Finally, several posters covering different aspects of leafy spurge management are also included.  Click here to enter the Resource Gallery!


Results: Before & After Photos

Biologically based Integrated Pest Management combines ecologically sound strategies with other tools to provide better control and more flexibility than can be achieved using any single tool alone. It is by far the best approach. But in the end, the most important question is does it work. Absolutely! Just take a look at these before and after pictures taken from different types of ecosystems. These are good examples of the kind of results you can achieve.

Sentinel Butte, ND

Before 1998

After 2000

The combination of biological control and multi-species grazing at this TEAM Leafy Spurge demonstration site in western North Dakota has worked extremely well. In just three years, the cattle-sheep-flea beetle combination reduced spurge densities by 31-50 percent, and native vegetation and desirable grasses are reestablishing in areas formerly dominated by spurge. Based on previous research, even greater reductions in spurge densities can be expected in the fourth and fifth years (i.e., 2001 and 2002) of the demonstration. In addition, the performance of both cattle and sheep have been enhanced. The demonstration shows the economic and environmental advantages offered by combining the two biologically based IPM strategies.

Photo by Jack Dahl, NDSU-Hettinger Research Extension Center

Devil's Tower, WY

Before 1998

After 2000

leafy spurge before

leafy spurge after

These two sites, located five miles west of Devilís Tower National Monument, are part of a TEAM Leafy Spurge project to quantify flea beetle establishment, population expansion and the resultant impact on leafy spurge. Each site was inventoried -- i.e., extensive data regarding soil type, moisture, topography, species composition, etc. were collected -- prior to being seeded with 6,000 Aphthona flea beetles (3,000 A. lacertosa and 3,000 A. nigriscutis) in 1998. TLS data collected in the summer of 2000 indicates that 95 percent of the flea beetle releases in the area successfully established populations (93 sites total), and that average leafy spurge foliar cover declined from 47.5 to 11.9 percent (average from 93 sites). This upland site is relatively dry, at an approximate elevation of 5,500 feet.

Photo by Amy Parker, University of Wyoming

Fallon County, MT

Before 1992

After 1995

Cattle rancher Glenn Rugg used Tordon for 40 years before experimenting with leafy spurge flea beetles in the early 1990s. He's now a staunch advocate of biocontrol.

Photo by Neal Spencer, USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory

Forget Me Not Lake, MN

Before 1994

After 1997

Decades of control efforts with herbicides proved fruitless on this island, but Aphthona lacertosa took out a solid stand of spurge in just three years. Note how quickly grasses returned. The island, which features a grassland prairie ecosystem with relatively high moisture, remains relatively spurge-free to date. Of interest: This site was one of the first A. lacertosa sites in the U.S.

Photo by R.D. Richard, USDA-APHIS PPQ

Waubay National Wildlife Refuge, SD

Before 1999

After 2000

leafy spurge before

leafy spurge after

Mixtures of Aphthona czwalinae/lacertosa were released here in 1994-96; their impact on heavy leafy spurge infestations between 1998-2000 were dramatic. Nearly 8 million flea beetles were collected at the site in 1999 and 2000. Refuge officials say the dramatic results have attracted a great deal of interest from local farmers and ranchers, who are now working to implement biocontrol programs on their own land.

Photo by Connie Mueller, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Bridger Mountains, MT

Before 1993

After 1995

Aphthona nigriscutis
was released in 1994 and quickly eliminated spurge on a hillside interspersed with grass and conifers.

Ward County, ND

Before 1998

After 1999

Annual applications of Tordon and 2,4-D at these two sites, located 10 miles west of Minot, for 15 years did little to reduce spurge densities. In 1998, the landowners released large numbers of flea beetles (mixtures of approximately 75 percent A. lacertosa and 25 percent A. nigriscutis); the results are obvious in these before and after photographs.

Photo by Derrill Fick, Ward County Weed Control

Valley City, ND

Before 1993

After 1995

This infestation, at the Katie Olsen National Wildlife Refuge near Valley City (Barnes
County), was about as bad as spurge can get. But the results of Aphthona czwalinae, and later, Aphthona lacertosa, are obvious. Hundreds of millions of flea beetles have been collected from this site and used to start new release sites all across the northern Great Plains during the 1990s. Amazingly enough, it all began with a release of just 80 insects in 1988.

Photo by Don Mundal, North Dakota State Department of Entomology

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