Monday, April 12, 2010

Weed Busters

Weed Busters

Using cloth nets resembling butterfly nets, the boys collect thousands of leafy spurge flea beetles and knapweed flower weevils as they wade through dense patches of weeds. The knapweed root weevils are tougher to collect as they live on the ground. To round up these weevils, the boys built a 30-by-30-foot bug corral using galvanized metal flashing.
The bugs live comfortably in old ice cream containers stored in the family refrigerator until they are sold. Typically, customers are seeking an alternative to chemical herbicides. The going rate is $100 for 100 root weevils, 200 flower weevils, or 1,000 flea beetles.
So your business is catching bugs that the government releases to help control noxious weeds, and sell them to people who have noxious weeds they want to get rid of. It is safe to call anyone a doing this a selfish idiot. Preventing a biological control from doing it's job should be a federal crime. And what's more idiotic is that people are buying them. This is as stupid as people buying and selling lady bugs. I'm going to start a business that specializes in growing Dandelions just to prove how stupid people are. (They would probably sell too if I marketed them as an alternative salad green.)

See this lady bug inspecting a tree I have out in the yard. I didn't pay one cent for it, and I'm fairly certain it's the Asian Multicolored Lady Bug which is an invasive species. Why people buy these in stores is anyone's guess; why farmers import them by the barrel is another mystery. The concept of buying insects that are going to show up anyhow is just mind blowing to me. It's like someone selling Monarch Butterflies to lay eggs on their host plant, Milkweed which they are naturally drawn to and completely dependent on for reproduction.

However, the boys are careful to warn people that biological control agents are not a quick fix for weed infestations. The bugs do not kill the weeds, which are both their home and food, but instead stress the weeds, making them more susceptible to other weed management tools. Sheep grazing, competitive plants and even herbicides are needed to knock back the weeds. It usually takes several years to see results, but they can be dramatic.
They're even honest about how ineffective their bug method works. Yes the bugs help keep the plant under control but they would have shown up to do that anyhow. This is like people who spray weed killer to get rid of an unsightly problem. Rather than pulling the weed out of the ground, weed killer is sprayed on the plant. After a few days the green eye soar is a brown eye soar... didn't exactly get rid of the problem did it?

Now send me money and seeds to your alternative salad green will blow into your lawn shortly.