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Better beetle sought for salt cedar control

epartment ofAgriculture-Agricultural Research Service at Temple, where other studiesare being done.

Each egg mass had 10 to 30 eggs. Another 60 adults were releasedbetween the three sites, Carney said. Each egg will go through threelarval stages, during which time they feed on the salt cedar, before theydrop into the ground and emerge a week later as a beetle.

"Almost immediately they will start mating and will live for about 30days," she said. "We're doing more extensive work on those figures in ourlab at Bushland. We want to determine how many eggs they lay, the lifecycle times and how many batches of eggs they lay in a lifetime."

Damage is what the researchers want to start seeing, Carney said. ThePosidi beetles at Lake Meredith defoliate small branches, but the damagehasn't been widespread. So far, the Uzbekistan beetles haven't been herelong enough for the scientists to gauge what they can do.

"They just came in May and the first year we don't expect to see majordamage," she said. "But they may defoliate the trees within the cages. Wewere warned that it will go quickly, and we may run out of food within thetents."

Michels and Carney said their Texas salt cedar beetle work is part of alarger study that is looking at beetles from Fukang, China; Crete, Greece;Tunisia, Africa; and Turpan, China.

These four strains of beetles will be released in various sitesthroughout the U.S., with emphasis on establishing them at two Texassites, and in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nebraska.

"What we want to see is the differences of these strains at differentlatitudes," Michels said. "People have released a strain here or a strainthere, but what we want to do is release all of these strains at each siteand maybe then be able to make some decisions that are backed up byresearch."

Ultimately, the study should help determine which strains are adaptedto which latitude, he said. The Crete strain was released from Wyoming t
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Source:Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications


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