Adopt a Goathead Weevil
Donate towards the purchase of goathead weed biological control, and help reduce the infestation of puncturevine along the Jordan River Parkway Trail.
What is Biological Control?
Biological control is a method of controlling pests (including insects, mites, weeds, and plant diseases) using other living organisms. It relies on predation, parasitism, and herbivory, or other natural mechanisms, but typically also involves an active human management role. It can be an important component of integrated pest management (IPM) programs. Importation (or “classical biological control”) involves the introduction of a pest’s natural enemies to a new locale where they do not occur naturally.
How is biocontrol being used on the Jordan River Parkway:
The Jordan River Commission and its partners (Salt Lake County Weed Control and Salt Lake City) are experimenting with the use of two weevils (Microlarinus Lareynii and Microlarinus lypriformis) to reduce the infestation of puncturevine (a.k.a. goatheads) along the Jordan River Parkway Trail. Observations from 2013 biocontrol releases along the Jordan River Parkway suggests that the weevils are doing their job and that biocontrol may be an effective strategy to managing goatheads along the trail. Puncturevine biological control is already regularly used in the warmer, southern parts of Utah.
What are the benefits of using biocontrol?
The use of biocontrol to reduce puncturevine along the trail has a number of benefits. While our volunteer crews are making a great dent in the puncturevine problem, the weevils are working even when we’re not. In addition, biocontrol reduces the need to apply chemical herbicides, which protects water quality and the health of trail users and the animals living in the corridor.
Is it safe?
Yes! All biocontrol species are heavily tested in quarantine environments by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service before they are approved for release in the United States. Puncturvine weevils only eat puncturvine. Puncturevine biocontrol was first released in the United States in 1961. It has been continually used without issue since that time, primarily in states with warm climates. As an additional safeguard, the weevils cannot survive Utah’s cold winters, and so biological control is considered a seasonal weed management strategy in our region.