Biological control of leafy spurge with introduced flea beetles (Aphthona spp.)
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CitationKirby, D. R., Carlson, R. B., Krabbenhoft, K. D., Mundal, D., & Kirby, M. M. (2000). Biological control of leafy spurge with introduced flea beetles (Aphthona spp.). Journal of Range Management, 53(3), 305-308.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractFlea beetles (Aphthona spp.) were introduced into leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.)-infested rangeland in east-central North Dakota. The study objectives were to evaluate the effects of the introduced insects on leafy spurge cover, density, and yield, and grass and grass-like yield of associated plant communities. Aphthona spp. were released in 1988 and 1989 at 2 sites near Valley City, N.D. Aboveground vegetative sampling for leafy spurge cover, density and yield, and grass and grass-like yield was conducted between 1993 and 1995. Belowground sampling of root density, dry weight and root buds was conducted between the release date and 1995. Aphthona spp. reduced aboveground cover, density and yield of leafy spurge and increased yield of grass and grass-like species. Leafy spurge root density, weight, and number of root buds decreased on insect release sites between release dates and 1995. Reduced stem density of leafy spurge and increased grass and grass-like yield, should enhance cattle use and production from these sites.
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Lessons in developing successful invasive weed control programsAnderson, G. L.; Delfosse, E. S.; Spencer, N. R.; Prosser, C. W.; Richard, R. D. (Society for Range Management, 2003-01-01)The development of successful regional or national invasive weed control programs is often hampered by the way the problem is approached. Typically weed control programs are developed and evaluated solely from the perspective of the biological sciences. While this is appropriate from a local or landscape perspective, it will probably not produce the desired results when addressing widespread well-established infestations that impact large regions. The "Ecological Area-wide Management (TEAM) of Leafy Spurge" program was the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) area wide invasive weed program. The 5-year program, funded by the ARS and conducted cooperatively with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, focused on the control of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) in North Dakota and South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Now in its final year (2001), the TEAM Leafy Spurge program has made significant progress in controlling leafy spurge, increasing public awareness of the problem and demonstrating the effectiveness of biologically-based integrated pest management. While this is a significant accomplishment, the lessons learned over the course of the project clearly demonstrate that the success of regional weed control programs depends on more than a persistent, marked reduction in the pest population. Effective regional weed control programs need to focus not only on biological issues, but also on the ecological, scientific, economic, social and legal factors that influence the effectiveness of the program. Therefore, the implementation and subsequent evaluation of a weed control program must include all the principal factors that will ultimately determine success and sustainability. This manuscript outlines the history of leafy spurge on the North American continent, the situation currently facing weed managers, and an evaluation of the TEAM Leafy Spurge program's success for each factor listed above. The final analysis indicates that successful biologically-based leafy spurge control is on the horizon, especially when weed managers understand the number of problem areas that must be addressed to achieve a sustained reduction of a weed population. The amount of time it will take to be realized depends on our commitment to solving the problem and our willingness to work together as a cohesive team.
Prescribed fire effects on biological control of leafy spurgeFellows, D. P.; Newton, W. E. (Society for Range Management, 1999-09-01)The flea beetle, Aphthona nigriscutis Foudras, is a potentially useful agent for biological control of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) in grasslands devoted to wildlife conservation. However, effects of other grassland management practices on the persistence and dynamics of flea beetle populations are not well understood. We conducted small plot tests to evaluate 1) the effect of prerelease burning on establishment of A. nigriscutis colonies, and 2) the ability of established A. nigriscutis colonies to survive prescribed fire. More colonies established on plots that were burned prior to beetle release (83% establishment) than on unburned plots (37% establishment), possibly due to litter reduction and baring of the soil surface. However, most colonies established with the aid of fire did not survive past the first generation unless the habitat was otherwise suitable for the species, and we conclude that the primary benefit of prerelease burning is increased recruitment of A. nigriscutis during the first few generations. Established colonies were not harmed by burns in October and May. Both spring and fall burns resulted in an increase in leafy spurge stem density during the first growing season, but stem density declined to the preburn level by the second growing season.
Integrated Management of Leafy Spurge-Infested RangelandJacobs, Jamea S.; Sheley, Roger L.; Borkowski, John J. (Society for Range Management, 2006-09-01)Leafy spurge is an invasive Eurasian weed on pastures and rangeland in North America where it reduces grass forage production. Our objective was to determine the effects of multispecies grazing combined with Aphthona flea beetles on leafy spurge-infested rangeland. On two western North Dakota sites divided into four 25- to 79-ha pastures, two grazing duration treatments were applied: season-long with 7 to 10 cow pairs and 20 to 25 sheep from late May through mid-September, and rotation with 18 to 21 cow calf pairs and 45 to 60 sheep for 3 weeks twice per year. Grazing treatments started in 1998 and continued through 2002. Aphthona spp. were released beginning 1991 and were widespread in both pastures by 1998. Four grazing enclosures were randomly located in each pasture in the spring of 1998. Cover of leafy spurge, grass, and forbs, as well as density of vegetative and flowering leafy spurge stems were measured in July 1998 through 2002. Aphthona densities were counted July 1999 through 2002. Grazing initially increased leafy spurge vegetative stem density, but grazing decreased vegetative stem density from 104 in 1999 to 20 stems m-2 in 2002. Season-long grazing reduced vegetative stem density by over 30 stems m-2 compared to rotation grazing. Leafy spurge flowering stems decreased from 80 stems m-2 to 4 stems m-2 in 2002 in all treatments. The decrease was more rapid when grazing was combined with Aphthona. Initially, Aphthona densities were greater in the grazed areas than the exclosures, but by 2002 more Aphthona were found in the exclosures than the grazed areas. Grazing reduced grass cover and increased forb cover. Results suggest combining multispecies grazing and Aphthona when restoring spurge-infested grasslands produces a synergistic effect.