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Cold weather weevil, salvinia eating insects survive cold - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Cold weather weevil, salvinia eating insects survive cold

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BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTBS) -

 

Brazilian weevils, natural predator of giant salvinia, have been used to combat the invasive plant in Louisiana for years. The insects usually die in North Louisiana due to cold and can't provide much of an impact on salvinia choked waters. LSU Ag researchers have been breeding the weevils to find some that survive the cold. They recently found a promising colony on Cross Lake. A colony of about 20 weevils survived last month's cold snap.

Steve Micinski, an associate professor, says the weevils survived in temperatures that lasted below freezing for around 40 hours. This is the first documented weevil colony to do so in our area. The survivors may breed and create a population of giant salvinia killers that can live year-round in local waters.

"However, it will depend on how cold tolerant they are," Micinski said. "They may not be cold tolerant enough."

Micinski says the weevils will be tested to make sure they actually are cold tolerant before being released onto salvinia choked water bodies. He says the weevils eat salvinia, while their larva burrow into the plants' roots.

"It's that killing of the root system by the larva that actually does the majority of the damage to the salvinia," Micinski said.

Micinski says the weevils only eat salvinia and claims they don't pose a risk to crops or native plants.

"They're not a problem on anything else," Micinski said. "They require the salvinia to survive."

If the weevils do manage to populate, Micinski says they won't kill-off salvinia for good. However, they should reduce coverage to just about two feet from shorelines.

Micinski stresses the weevils won't lessen salvinia overnight. It may take years to provide a noticeable and beneficial impact.

 

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