Wednesday, April 7, 1999

TEAM Leafy Spurge Slates Free Flea Beetle Give-aways
By Steve Merritt for the MSU News Service
Contact: Steve Merritt (406-433-9440)

SIDNEY, Montana — Ranchers interested in biological control of leafy spurge can get free flea beetles, and plenty of information, at a series of TEAM Leafy Spurge tours set for June. The tours and flea beetles giveaways will be held in Ekalaka (Montana), Buffalo (S.D.), Sundance (Wyoming) and Medora (N.D.).

TEAM Leafy Spurge coordinator Chad Prosser said the tours and flea beetle giveaways are part of an effort to get more people involved with alternate methods of controlling leafy spurge.

"Biological control is an important part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies for leafy spurge, and this is our way of making sure ranchers and landowners have all the resources they need to start or increase flea beetle populations on their property," Prosser said.

The flea beetle giveaways will be held in conjunction with tours of TEAM Leafy Spurge research and demonstration sites designed to give ranchers a "first-hand look at IPM in action," Prosser said.

"The tours will give ranchers a chance to see results produced by IPM tools like multi-species grazing, herbicides and biological control as well as combinations of different tools being used together," Prosser said. "We’ll also have plenty of information available and will hopefully be able to answer any questions ranchers and landowners might have."

Prosser advised ranchers who want flea beetles to come prepared.

"We recommend that you come equipped with a cooler and some blue ice," he said. "That will allow you to keep the flea beetles cool and alive until you can get them back to your release site."

Following are details on the tours and give-aways:

• June 21 — Ekalaka, Montana: A tour of TEAM Leafy Spurge demonstration sites will be held in conjunction with the annual Range Days tour. Leafy spurge flea beetles will be distributed at 1 p.m. in the county weed shop; the tour departs at 2:30 p.m. from Carter County High School. Local contact: Larry Brence, Fallon & Carter County Extension agent, 406-778-7110.

• June 23 — Buffalo, S.D.: A tour of TEAM Leafy Spurge demonstration sites will leave from the Harding County Courthouse at 12:30 p.m. Leafy spurge flea beetles will be distributed after the tour at around 5:30 p.m. Local contact: Ken Nelson, Harding County Extension agent, 605-375-3412 (knelson@rapidnet.com).

• June 24 — Sundance, Wyoming: A tour of TEAM Leafy Spurge demonstration sites will depart from the Crook County courthouse in Sundance at 9:30 a.m.; local residents can also rendezvous with the tour at the Lazy Y at 10 a.m. The tour includes lunch; flea beetles will be distributed at the tour’s conclusion. Local contact: Dick Sackett, Crook County Weed & Pest supervisor, 307-283-2375, or Gene Gade, Crook County Extension agent, 307-283-1192.

• July 1 — Medora, N.D.: Three to six million flea beetles will be distributed on the afternoon of July 1 as part of a special three-day TEAM Leafy Spurge event called "Spurgefest ’99." For more information, contact: Chad Prosser, TEAM Leafy Spurge coordinator, 406-433-9403 (cprosser@sidney.ars.usda.gov).

Prosser stressed that tour and insect distribution dates are tentative and may be influenced by weather or other factors. Additional information on the tours and give-aways will be publicized prior to the scheduled tour dates, and will also be available on the TEAM Leafy Spurge web site (http://www.team.ars.usda.gov).


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