above, the Mile-a-Minute Weevil
Two Highly Invasive Plant Species Targeted
(June 29, 2012) – They are not stink bugs, but they are creating quite a stir in wetlands throughout the State. The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is unleashing a weevil and beetle attack on invasive plant species that choke the life out of native plants along highways and in wetlands.
SHA, along with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), is enlisting the help of the mile-a- minute weevil and the purple loosestrife beetle in the epic struggle to control invasive plant species that pose a threat to wetlands, native vegetation and wildlife habitat. Similar programs, which have been successful in New York, Delaware and other states, are using greener methods to control invasive plant species. In Maryland, SHA and MDA have used insects for the biological control of thistle, another invasive weed species.
“Weeds in gardens are a nuisance; weeds like the purple loosestrife in wetlands are destructive and can impact water quality,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “SHA is using safe, innovative and greener methods to control invasive species, reducing reliance on herbicides.”
SHA recently released the insects at 11 wetland sites on the lower Eastern Shore, in Central Maryland and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Wetlands, particularly those connected to storm water treatment systems, are critical at enhancing water quality that enters the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Invasive plants such as purple loosestrife and mile-a-minute weed kill off plants species that support water filtration, decreasing the wetland effectiveness or even destroying it.