TEAM Leafy Spurge: Working Together to Purge Spurge Results: Before & After

Biologically based Integrated Pest Management combines ecologically sound strategies with other tools to provide better control and more flexibility than can be achieved using any single tool alone. It is by far the best approach. But in the end, the most important question is does it work. Absolutely! Just take a look at these before and after pictures taken from different types of ecosystems. These are good examples of the kind of results you can achieve.
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Sentinel Butte, ND
Before 1998 After 2000
The combination of biological control and multi-species grazing at this TEAM Leafy Spurge demonstration site in western North Dakota has worked extremely well. In just three years, the cattle-sheep-flea beetle combination reduced spurge densities by 31-50 percent, and native vegetation and desirable grasses are reestablishing in areas formerly dominated by spurge. Based on previous research, even greater reductions in spurge densities can be expected in the fourth and fifth years (i.e., 2001 and 2002) of the demonstration. In addition, the performance of both cattle and sheep have been enhanced. The demonstration shows the economic and environmental advantages offered by combining the two biologically based IPM strategies.
Photo by Jack Dahl, NDSU-Hettinger Research Extension Center

Devil's Tower, WY
Before 1998 After 2000

leafy spurge before

leafy spurge after

These two sites, located five miles west of Devil’s Tower National Monument, are part of a TEAM Leafy Spurge project to quantify flea beetle establishment, population expansion and the resultant impact on leafy spurge. Each site was inventoried -- i.e., extensive data regarding soil type, moisture, topography, species composition, etc. were collected -- prior to being seeded with 6,000 Aphthona flea beetles (3,000 A. lacertosa and 3,000 A. nigriscutis) in 1998. TLS data collected in the summer of 2000 indicates that 95 percent of the flea beetle releases in the area successfully established populations (93 sites total), and that average leafy spurge foliar cover declined from 47.5 to 11.9 percent (average from 93 sites). This upland site is relatively dry, at an approximate elevation of 5,500 feet.
Photo by Amy Parker, University of Wyoming

Fallon County, MT
Before 1992 After 1995
Cattle rancher Glenn Rugg used Tordon for 40 years before experimenting with leafy spurge flea beetles in the early 1990s. He's now a staunch advocate of biocontrol.
Photo by Neal Spencer, USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory

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