Foster Creek Conservation District
Foster Creek Conservation District

Turning Over a New Leaf for Biocontrols

Toadflax beetle adult on Dalmatian toadflax plant

When Dalmatian toadflax made its way into Douglas County, our landowners and operators fought back by releasing a very hungry beetle (M. janthiniformis) to attack this invasive plant. Between 2007 and 2019, you distributed 299,300 toadflax-eating beetles via the Foster Creek CD biocontrol program and helped keep this invader under control. Now that we have established a healthy population of beetles over the18 years of the program, Foster Creek will no longer offer beetles, but is switching to help producers monitor and move the beetles already present on their land. Here are two easy steps to follow if you want to get involved:

  • Monitor: Wait until March-April when the beetles emerge from plant stems, choose six plants within an area of toadflax and count the number of beetles per plant. Or, in September, cut six toadflax stems within an area and look for pupae inside. Find 50-100 = healthy population. Find 20 = you need more!

 

  • Move: If you find an area that needs more beetles, was burned, or will have CRP mid-contract management, you can collect the emerged beetles in the spring and move them. You can also cut toadflax stems from high beetle areas in the fall, remove the seed heads and place the stems on the ground where you want beetles to emerge in the spring.

We are also seeking producers who want to trial Russian knapweed biocontrols over the next 5-10 years. Reach out to Foster Creek CD (rlefler@fostercreekcd.org), Douglas County Cooperative Weed Management Area, or Dale Whaley from Washington State University (dwhaley@wsu.edu) for technical assistance on these topics and for help with other noxious weeds you are battling. 

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Foster Creek Conservation District 203 S Rainier Waterville, WA 98858 509-888-6372 © Foster Creek CD