For Release: July 11, 2007
Contact: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332
Lassen SWAT Offers Bugs to Battle Puncturevine
Agencies involved in the Lassen SWAT (Special Weed Action Team) are offering area residents a free new weapon for their battle against pesky puncturevine: weevils.
Containers of the tiny weed-eating insects will be distributed to those attending a puncturevine bio-control workshop Thursday, July 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Bureau of Land Management Eagle Lake Field Office, 2950 Riverside Dr., Susanville.
“The goal of the workshop is to provide information on the benefits of bio-control for puncturevine and to discuss other short-term control methods,” said Lassen County Farm Advisor Rob Wilson of the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Puncturevine is common in Lassen County. Bicyclists are perhaps most familiar with the plants because their thorny seeds, called “goatheads” are notorious for flattening tires.
Wilson said workshop participants will receive two species of weevils. One feeds on puncturevine seeds and the other eats the plant stems.
“Both were released into test plots in Lassen County several years ago, and they have done well,” Wilson said. In California’s Central Valley the weevils have been established for several years and have been effective at reducing puncturevine, especially in dry areas.
“Bio-control is a long-term tool for suppressing puncturevine,” Wilson said. “Releasing the weevils into infestations will not immediately kill the plants.”
He said short-term solutions include digging the plants out and disposing of the plants and seeds, or using herbicides before the plants flower. He said repeated treatments at infestation sites are the key to success.
Lassen SWAT is a consortium of more than two dozen federal, state and local agencies and organizations. The group works to provide public information about noxious and invasive weeds, locates and maps infestations and works on control and eradication.
Information is available from Wilson at 251-8132 or Carolyn Gibbs at the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office, 257-0456.
Eagle Lake Field Office 2950 Riverside Drive Susanville, CA 96130