The leafy spurge infestation (left) was greatly reduced by biological control (right).
Adult Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle and two parasitoid wasp species that feed on EAB eggs and larvae
Releasing Aphthona beetles to control leafy spurge.
Spotted knapweed seedhead weevils
Non-native pests can be very destructive when introduced to new areas because those new areas lack the predatory insects and diseases that limit the pest populations in their native environments. Biological control, the use of natural enemies to control non-native pests, can be a cost-effective and powerful pest management tool.
Classical biological control reunites natural enemies, such as insects and pathogens, with the target pest to minimize pest damage. The goal of biological control is to reduce the target pest population and its corresponding impact to an acceptable level. Before any insect or pathogen is considered a viable candidate for biological control, scientists study it carefully to make sure it will not harm people or the environment.
Biological control programs in Minnesota are cooperative. Multiple agencies, associations, institutions, and private landowners work together to accomplish goals. Lead agencies help to coordinate efforts, disseminate information, provide expertise, and collect data.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) biological control program
Insect biological control
Weed biological control
For information on MDA's program, contact Monika Chandler, 651-201-6537 or Monika.Chandler@state.mn.us
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biological control program
For information on DNR's program, contract Laura Van Riper, 651-259-5090 or Laura.Vanriper@state.mn.us
Galerucella beetles feed on purple loosestrife