We will install two insectary corrals on existing stands of Spotted Knapweed. Cyphocleonus achates (root-boring weevils) will be released in one corral, and the other corral will be used as an experimental control. Plant surveys will be taken in the spring and fall. Also, Cyphocleonus will be released on nearby existing stands of knapweed and populations will be monitored.
This project has been funded by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) with a two-year grant. Twenty-five hundred dollars was awarded for fiscal year 2005 – 2006, and an additional twenty-five hundred dollars is earmarked for fiscal year 2006 – 2007. The funds are released to Missoula County Public Schools as invoices are received by MDT from
The insectaries are located just east of
Construction of the insectaries is slated for the week of
July 17. Materials and supplies have
been purchased to install one 50’ x 50’ corral and one 25’ x 25’. Student and community volunteers, along with
Morgan Valient and Marjika Wassen from the Missoula County Weed
install the insectaries.
A plot survey of the plant communities within the
insectaries will be taken immediately upon completion.
Follow-up surveys will be conducted every
September and May. Students will monitor
changes in the weed and native plant populations, making note of when
in specific plant populations occur.
Cyphocleonus achates Release
will be released in the large corral in August, 2006.
At this time, the release of 75 weevils is
planned. In addition to releasing Cyphoclonus within the large corral, we
plan to release 75 weevils at each of three locations within one mile
insectaries. We will monitor and map
these release sites, using GPS and ArcView.
The Forest Service has offered their support and assistance with
ArcView, although it is my hope that students will be able to take on
These sites will also serve as collection sites in future
years as the population of Spotted Knapweed declines at those sites.
collected weevils will be made available to the Seeley-Lake branch of
Montana Department of Transportation for release on their property or
landowners with property adjacent to MDT property.
Population of Cyphocleonus
achates and Spotted Knapweed within the insectary will be
monitored. As Spotted Knapweed
populations fall, the insectary will be turned or
relocated to insure a food source for the Cyphocleonus.
Academic support for this project will include discussion of
population dynamics, biological controls, plant defenses, native vs.
species, classification, evolution, and competition.
Several labs and field experiences are
planned with the support of Morgan Valient and Marijka Wassen.