Wednesday, May 24, 2000

New Leafy Spurge Biocontrol Manual Available
By Steve Merritt for the MSU News Service

Contact: Steve Merritt (406-433-9440)

This article and accompanying photos can be downloaded from the MSU Communications Services Web page. See the note at the bottom of the page for additional information.

SIDNEY, Montana — TEAM Leafy Spurge has teamed up with the USDA-APHIS and North Dakota Department of Agriculture to produce "Biological Control of Leafy Spurge," a full color, 20-page manual on using leafy spurge flea beetles.

The how-to manual provides step-by-step instructions on implementing a biocontrol program for leafy spurge using flea beetles. It details the entire process, from obtaining flea beetles and picking release sites to evaluating success, harvesting and redistributing flea beetles, and integrating biocontrol with other leafy spurge management tools.

Gerry Anderson, co-principal investigator of the TEAM Leafy Spurge program, said the manual is a great resource for anyone interested in biological control of leafy spurge.

"It’s easy to read and extremely informative," Anderson said. "People who follow the guidelines listed in the manual will definitely improve their chances of effectively incorporating biological control into their leafy spurge management plans.

The manual is a revised version of "Biological Control of Leafy Spurge Using Flea Beetles in North Dakota," originally compiled in 1998 by Dave Hirsch, USDA-APHIS PPQ officer in Bismarck, N.D., and Dave Nelson, state entomologist for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. The original manual was "one of the best resources available" for information about using leafy spurge flea beetles, Anderson said, but its focus was limited to North Dakota.

"Our goal is making the same information available to people throughout the northern Great Plains," Anderson said.

Hirsch, who has worked with leafy spurge flea beetles since the mid-1980s, said the best thing about the manual is the quality of information it contains.

"Information used in the manual was collected by a lot of people with a lot of experience," Hirsch said. "That’s what makes it so useful — it’s information from people with plenty of hands-on experience, from people who know what really works."

Key contributors to the manual include the North Dakota Biocontrol Steering Committee, the North Dakota State University departments of Entomology and Plant Sciences, the USDA-APHIS PPQ/Biological Control of Weeds Laboratory in Bozeman (Montana), the North Dakota Weed Control Association and the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney (Montana).

Single copies of the manual can be downloaded as a PDF (Adobe Acrobat Reader required; download for free from here) from the TEAM Leafy Spurge web site at

The manual is also available from state departments of agriculture, state USDA-APHIS PPQ offices, state BLM offices and other sources in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Anyone interested in obtaining multiple copies of the manual for distribution at field days or similar activities should contact TEAM Leafy Spurge by e-mailing a request to, or by writing to TEAM Leafy Spurge, USDA-ARS NPARL, 1500 N. Central Ave., Sidney, MT 59270.


This story can be retrieved at XXXXXXX

Color photos: Full color photos of the manual’s cover:

Black and white photos: Black and white photos of the manual’s cover:

Zip File of all four: 570 k.

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