Insect and Weed Programs

The Insectary has ongoing biological control programs for many noxious or problem weed species including:

Bull thistle
Bull thistleUrophora stylata © Peter Harris
Canada thistle
Canada thistleState of Colorado Image
Dalmation/Yellow toadflax
Dalmatian toadflaxCalophasia lunula
Diffuse / Spotted knapweed
Spotted knapweedCyphocleonus achates
Field bindweed
Field bindweedTyta luctuosa
Leafy spurge
Leafy spurgeOberea erythrocephala
Musk thistle
Musk thistleTrichosirocalus horridus © Eric Coombs @ OR Dept of Ag
Puncturevine
Puncturevine © Eric Coombs @ OR Dept of AgMicrolarinus
Purple loosestrife
Purple loosestrifeHylobius transversovittatus
Tall larkspur
tall larkspur © William Ciesla

Approximately 30 weed predators are being cultured, released, and established on weed infestations throughout the State. In addition to the biological weed control programs, this section conducts control programs for the alfalfa weevil, and Oriental fruit moth, with a total of twelve beneficial species.

The main function of the Biological Pest Control Section is the rearing and releasing of natural enemies for control of specific plant and insect pests. To request biological pest control please contact our office. This section also acts as the State's receiving station for biological control agents. New biological control programs are being developed primarily by agencies of the United States Department of Agriculture. Foreign exploration produces several new species each year that are known to control introduced plant and insect pests. These exotic species are exposed to a strict quarantine procedure before they become available to cooperating states for general release. This insures that potentially hazardous species are not accidentally introduced with the beneficial insects.