There are two insects that are used in the Great Plains: the bindweed moth
(Tyta luctuosa) was released in Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas
and the bindweed gall mite (Aceria malherbae) was released in Texas.
-Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides; website also lists about 6 other ways to control bindweed
rachael hamblin wrote:
Where are bindweed, the bindweed moth, and the bindweed gall mite originally from? Have there been any inklings of possibly unbalancing ecosystems in other ways by releasing these insects?
I know that there are five insects introduced to help control knapweed and the controls about bringing them into the country seemed pretty intense. So I suspect that if you can openly buy them, they have been shown to not cause any big disasters.
Wouldn't it be ironic if they became extinct in their native range right as they became an invasive species in the US?
It seems one of the major threats is "mismanagement of grassland," so I guess I'm glad pumpkins hadn't quite choked out all the bindweed in the British Isles before we had a chance to introduce this moth here.
paul wheaton wrote:
I was looking for something else and stumbled across this. I wonder how these bugs are working out?
I have spoken with two farmers here who have tried the bindweed mite and are unimpressed. You get strands of bindweed in a cooler from your extension agent. You take it home and wind the mite infested bindweed in among your bindweed. the mites migrate from the dying strand to the living strands.
I find that vinegar kills the tops just fine, but not the roots. It quickly resprouts.
If treated right and planted at the right time and spacing, the pumpkin outcompetes and overwhelms the bindweed. It also exudes a root chemical that is aelopathic to the bindweed
I've seen bindweed in pumpkin fields here in the Estancia Valley and generally speaking you will find it on the edges of fields or where the pumpkins/squash aren't so thick. Heavy in the areas where tail water goes to in open irrigation.
Have also used multiple species of livestock and poultry in non tree areas- then sheet mulched and that has seemed to work also. The poultry and then pigs in successive rotations seemed to work well, at least here.
Until the soil gets a little better healed many crops get mowed down by grasshoppers come July and it's a cycle that's getting better, but the reason behind multiple plantings not quite ready to work here. Also the reason for more tree crops as the little buggers generally leave the trees alone.
It seems the hoppers leave the pumpkins and marigolds alone.
I'm not quite sure if I'd want to try growing it too close to our protected wetlands (where our bindweed is), but I thought someone else might be interested in trying it!
DIE BINDWEED, DIE!!! (Of course, please feel no pressure to kill your bindweed you love it, but mine can DIE!!! )