Beetles Battle Invasive Plants

By KBJR News 1

August 1, 2013 Updated Aug 1, 2013 at 5:18 PM CDT

Moose Lake, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- Carlton County officials are successfully battling a pair of invasive plants using biological control.

For the past five years, two types of small beetles-seed and root collar weevils-have helped keep leafy spurge and spotted knap weed under control.

Agricultural experts say because of the beetles, the native species to Carlton County can better compete against the rapidly expanding invasive plants.

Because the plants like to grow in hay and pasture land, farmers who depend on that terrain can thank the small insects for keeping a potential problem under control.

"We're about 80 to 85% hay or pasture land so to lose that to grazing would be a devastating effect on the farming economy," said Greg Bernu, Land Commissioner for Carlton County.

The beetles program was recently the center of attention for officials from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, who deemed it a success.