NDSU Extension - Burke County


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Leafy Spurge Flea Beetles

County Agent News
Dan Folske
July 9, 2018 

Project Safe Send

Don’t forget Project Safe Send dates for our closest collection sites are coming up!

The two closest collection sites are the ND Department of Transportation facilities at Minot and at Tioga. The Tioga location at 425 2nd St SE, Tioga will be accepting pesticides from 8 am to noon on July 17th, 2018. The Minot location at 1305 Hwy 2 Bypass E, Minot, ND will be accepting pesticides on July 18th from 8 am to noon.

The program accepts any pesticides (i.e., herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, and fungicides) that are old, unusable, or banned. Participants can bring their unusable pesticides to a scheduled collection site.  After the collections, pesticides are carefully packed and shipped out of state for incineration.

Remember, pesticides include any weed or insect killers, grasshopper baits, gopher baits, and similar products.  They do not accept empty containers or paint.

If you have questions about an old chemical or cannot transport your old products to the collection site, please give me a call at 377-2927 or 339-1133 or email me at dan.folske@ndsu.edu

Leafy Spurge Flea Beetles

            Flea Beetles are an excellent tool for controlling leafy spurge but they are not a magic bullet. I have seen some very good results but I’ve also seen a lot of failures. Putting a few hundred beetles or even a few thousand beetles out on a large infestation does not guarantee control. And even some sites which had almost completely disappeared a few years ago are heavily infested again. Beetle populations can be severely affected by cool, wet weather in late spring and early summer. Their populations are also naturally cyclic in nature. As they reduce spurge populations they are also reducing their own food supply and beetle populations can crash allowing spurge populations to rebound. With favorable weather conditions the beetle populations will come back a year or two after the spurge density starts to come back up.

            Harvesting or collecting excess beetles and moving them to new locations should be a standard practice if you are trying to use beetles for leafy spurge control. I get a lot of calls about collecting beetles from landowners who have released beetles on their property but have never checked or tried to collect beetles on their own sites.

            You can use the NDAWN weather data to predict when beetle populations may be right for checking your beetle populations. Our corner of the state has reached the accumulated growing degree days needed for the beetles to be collected if populations are high enough. You cannot over collect the beetles! Even very heavy collection pressure does not lower populations enough to make a site fail.

Flea beetles are collected between 1,200 and 1,600 AGDD using the sunflower GDD modelUse the sunflower degree day map on NDAWN and enter “2018-03-01” for planting date and select “growing degree day” for map type. As of July 8, 2018 the NDAWN station at Bowbells has reached 1437 GDDs.

            Last summer’s dry weather should have been good for beetle populations so check your sites. Hopefully you will find a pleasant surprise at some of your locations.  If you have a large site with high populations give me a call. If you can help your neighbors with a supply of beetles you will be popular in the neighborhood and help prevent the continued spread of spurge onto other locations on your own land too!


Filed under: Burke news
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