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Better beetle sought for salt cedar control

Beetles from Uzbekistan are more prolific salt cedar eatersthan beetles from Greece. At least that's what Texas AgriculturalExperiment Station researchers hope.

Uzbekistan salt cedar beetles being released by the ExperimentStation's entomology department are the same species as those released onthe salt cedar stands near Lake Meredith. They are just from a differentcollection point, said Vanessa Carney, Experiment Station entomologyresearch associate.

Researchers first looked at latitude and longitude to find the beetlethey thought would be best suited to this region, and they came up withsalt cedar beetles from Posidi, Greece, Carney said.

"Because some of the releases in other states haven't been successful,we're starting to think it may be more complicated than that," she said."These beetles from Uzbekistan seem to be most suited to our climate atthe same latitude and longitude."

At the Meredith site, the Posidi beetles released in 2004 have made itthrough two winters and had two summers of success, Carney said. However,because of an early warm-up followed by a cold spell, they seem to be lessprolific this summer and haven't exploded in numbers.

Dr. Jerry Michels, Experiment Station entomology research projectleader, and Carney are making new releases of the Uzbekistan beetle thisyear in the heavy salt cedar stands on private land north of Borger. The new site was selected because of its remote location and because itis not subject to other control methods, such as fire and chemicaltreatments, Carney said.

A total of 25 egg masses have been released at three different sites,all within cages, Carney said. While the Posidi beetles are approved foropen release, the Uzbekistan beetles have not been approved by Animal andPlant Health Inspection Service for open release so they must be enclosedin tents.

The beetles being released into the confined salt cedar trials wereprovided by Dr. Jack DeLoach with the U.S. D
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Source:Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications


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