Biological Control for Salvinia - The Stewards of Water Blog

Biological Control for Salvinia

 Giant salvinia ( Salvinia molesta ). Credit: Marshman, wikimedia.org Giant salvinia ( Salvinia molesta ). Credit: Marshman, wikimedia.org


      "For anyone who has to work in the marsh or use boat trails for transportation, giant salvinia is a problem," said Kevin Savoie, Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter Marine Extension agent. "It chokes native aquatic plants that are a food source for waterfowl and other species. Duck hunters and alligator harvesters struggle to get their boats through it."

      And it's no wonder that the salvinia has become such a problem; under ideal conditions a single plant can multiply and cover 40 square miles in just three months. And while chemical methods are effective against the plant, when it covers such vast stretches chemical application becomes impractical; that is, what works in a private water body isn't what works for an entire river system or large lake.

     And that's why many are banking on biological methods, such as weevils, to help control large infestations of the invasive. LSU entomologist Rodrigo Diaz has been studying a weevil (Cyrtobagous salviniae) as a biological control agent. The weevil larvae feed on the plant, stunting its growth and causing it to sink.

     For the full article from environmentalguru.com click here or on the link available below.