A biocontrol bug sharing day for Patersons Curse, St Johns Wort and Spear Thistle bugs
A “Bio control Bug Sharing Day” was held on the Sunday 28th August at Bryant’s Gap, as a combined effort between Mitta Valley and Bryant’s Gap Landcare Groups.
Twenty-six people attended from across the region to learn about and collect insects form locals such as the John and Tony Maddock who have been involved in biological control releases over the past twenty years. The Maddock’s have had four species of Paterson’s curse biological controls released on their Bryant’s Gap property and have been very happy with the effects it has had.
Biological controls can be a bit like an old Shampoo advert, “It won’t happen over night but it will happen,” though effects may vary over time. For those who remember the drastic impressions on the landscape due to rabbits (bare ground), Paterson’s curse and St John’s wort in flower have been diminished to a large degree due to biological controls.
There have been a range of biological controls released in the past for weeds in the local area, and the aim of the day was to provide an opportunity for discussion and the participants where able to take home Paterson’s curse flea beetles (Longitarsus echi), Spear Thistle Gaul fly (Urophora stylata) and St John’s Wort mite (Aculus hyperici).
We believed that days such as this provide an insight into the opportunities that biological controls can provide for our properties, bank balance and the broader environment. It is simply another tool to be part of an integrated approach to weed management, and we encourage further biological control programs on other species like Blackberry.