This article was contributed by Robert Smith-SLELO PRISM in our 2021 Winter Newsletter.

Biological controls are becoming more commonly used as an option for invasive species management.  The main benefit of using biocontrol is that they conduct the management for you, keeping invasive species populations in check and reducing the need for human intervention.  The following biocontrol options are being used in the SLELO region. 

For both black and pale swallowwort, the approved biocontrol to use is Hypena opulenta, a moth from Ukraine, which feeds exclusively on the leaves of these invasive species. We set up four Hypena cages last year with the greatest success in emergence and release occurring at Wehle State Park.   We intend on setting up cages again this year, most likely at Robert Wehle State Park and Grenadier Island, and may set up an additional 1 or 2 cages. View the results of this release. 

Photos of the Hypena Opulenta Release in SLELO

For purple loosestrife, there are several biocontrol’s, including 2 leaf-feeding beetles, 1 root boring weevil, and 1 flower feeding weevil.  They have been in use for many years, but we noticed an increase in purple loosestrife populations across the SLELO region last summer, so we are requesting Galerucella beetles from the DEC for release on PCAs with large quantities of purple loosestrife.  

Emerald Ash Borer is a recent problem in our area and is spreading throughout the SLELO region, killing all species of ash trees that it infests.  EAB has several biocontrols including, 1 Egg Parasitoid and 3 Larval Parasitoids.  Plans are currently being made by the DEC and APHIS concerning releases of one or more of these biocontrol insects in the SLELO region, read more about this plan in our 2021 Winter Newsletter on page 4 (click the button below to view). 

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