Seedhead Weevils are Being Used to Control the Spread of Knapweed
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Seedhead Weevils are Being Used to Control the Spread of Knapweed

Date: September 29, 2011
By: Mengti Xu
State Capitol Bureau

The Missouri Transportation Department is using hungry bugs to win the battle against noxious weeds.
RunTime:  0:44
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Wrap: An aggressive weed is extending rapidly beyond the roadside onto private lawns and pastures.

The Transportation Department's Roadside Manager Chris Shulse says knapweed produces an herbicide that kills neighboring plants.

Actuality:  WEEVILS0.WAV
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Description: "It reduces the available wildlife habitat and it reduces the available forage for cattle."

Shulse says two types of bugs called seedhead weevils are used to control the spread of knapweed and can kill the weed.

Actuality:  WEEVILS2.WAV
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Description: "The weevils help to bring the knapweed under control onto more manageable level so we can use other methods, like herbicide to control the knapweed."

Although it will take a few years to make a difference, Shulse says these tiny bugs will play an important role in suppressing the weed. 

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Mengti Xu.

A cheap and effective bug is saving plants, private lawns and pastures invaded by a harmful weed.
RunTime:  0:43
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The Missouri Transportation Department introduced two types of seedhead weevils to control the spread of knapweed, a weed that kills nearby plants in lawns and reduces the available plant material livestock eat in pastures.

The Department's Roadside Manager Chris Shulse says using weevils are cheaper than using herbicide in this situation.

Actuality:  WEEVIL5.WAV
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Description: "We can start collecting insects by ourselves from some of these areas where we have high population and just move them to the new place, so we don't have to keep buying them every year."

Shulse says the weevils are affective in the areas where it is hard to treat with herbicide.

Shulse also says the bug will have a notable affect in the weed in a couple of years.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Mengti Xu.

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