Collecting Purple Loosestrife Bugs

Yesterday [June 8, 2016] was a wonderful success in capturing tiny little Galerucella beetles to offer them a brand new beautiful home on Schroon Lake.

A group of ESSLA members, assisted by Nick Rowell of Warren County Soil & Water, drove north to find a patch of these voracious beetles. We used nifty little straw-like devices to suck up the tiny insects off a stand of purple loosestrife and then stowed them away in scientifically engineered containers for the trip to their new home. By the time we arrived at the Horicon boat launch to disperse them, I had grown quite fond of them and was almost tearful as we let them go and saw how excited and happy they seemed to be.

Thank you to all for a fun day! ~Elli Muller, ESSLA Board Member.

Purple Loosestrife is yet another invasive plant growing rampantly in New York State. It was brought over from Europe as an ornamental perennial for its showy purple flowers and long bloom time from July to September. However, it is an aggressive wetland plant that will out compete native vegetation and degrade wildlife habitat. Utilizing this biocontrol program, Galerucella beetles munch away at the invasive plant, slowing growth and reproduction. Since the insects are host specific to invasive loosestrife, they won’t damage native vegetation.

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