Working together to strengthen and support noxious weed management efforts in Montana.


The Montana Action Plan for Biological Control of Invasive Plants – Draft Version

Thursday, May 15th, 2014


To follow-up from our spring meeting. Here is stripped down version of the biocontrol plan. I ran into a number of formatting issues (some may still exist) since the original had several layers of text, blocking, background, etc.. I tried to eliminate most of these – so what is left are largely text boxes.  Pages are usually separated by insert new page – so if you start moving things around you may have some overlapping pages. If you have edits please keep them within text boxes. Let me know if you have questions or problems.

Also I tried to put this into Goggle Documents without much success (again issues with formatting). It may be better to send me your comments direct & I will edit them into the final document. I also need some photos of field days, workshops, group settings or any good images of biocontrol agents or weeds. I plan to use these within the various sections or as “filler”

You may  download stripped down version of the biocontrol plan in either a docx version or PDF format version. .  (Depending on your browser handles the docx file may work or it may be jumbled letters.   For this reason we have also provided the PDF option.)

If you can get your comments to me by June 9th I would appreciate it. I will not be able to work on it before.


Jeff Littlefield
Dept. Land Resources & Environmental Sciences
Montana State University
PO Box 173120
Bozeman, MT 59717-3120

Importance of Matching your Bug to Your Toadflax

Thursday, May 15th, 2014


It is critical that the appropriate stem-boring weevil be utilized on the specific species of toadflax you are trying to control. Presently, the only reliable way to distinguish Mecinus janthinus(for yellow toadfax) and M. janthiniformis (for Dalmatian toadflax) appears to be the host plant on which they were collected. Please discuss with your supplier to ensure the agents you receive were collected from the same species of toadflax for which you plan to release them. Morphological differences of the weevils are very subtle and may not be reliable.

Biological Control Agents

The stem-mining weevil Mecinus janthinus was released in the US and Canada as a biological control agent of Dalmatian and yellow toadflax. Recent research has shown that rather than a single Mecinus species, there are two host-specific Mecinus weevils that utilize weedy toadflaxes. These are:

• Mecinus janthinus, which utilizes yellow toadflax, and,

• Mecinus janthiniformis, which utilizes Dalmatian toadflax.

Both weevils have apparently been released and established in the U.S. Choosing the appropriate host-specific weevil should increase the efficacy of biological control of both Dalmatian and yellow toadflax.

Dalmatian and Yellow Toadflax (Linariadalmatica and L. vulgaris)Identification:

Dalmatian and yellow (or common) toadflax are members of the Plantaginaceae (plantain) family, and are easily recognized by their snapdragon-like yellow flowers (right) with a single long spur. Flowers can bloom from early summer until killing frost.

• Dalmatian toadflax ranges in height from 15-60 inches with broad, fleshy and heart-shaped leaves which clasp the stem.

• Yellow toadflax is shorter, from 7-32 Inches tall with leaves that are long, linear and noticeably less succulent

Visit the weed identification pages for yellow toadflax and dalmatian toadflax for more information on these two weeds.

Dalmatian toadflax is on the left and Yellow toadflax on the rigth

Dalmatian toadflax is on the left and Yellow toadflax on the right

Please contact your local county weed coordinator or Gary D. Adams, State Plant Health Director at USDA, APHIS, PPQ if you have questions.

Transfering Bio-Control Agents Across State Lines, Who Are You Going To Call?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013


When you transfer biocontrol agents across state lines, you need to be permitted.    The folks at APHIS can help you with questions you might have about this.     A great contact is:

Richard “Joe”  Merenz,  DPC
1220 Cole Ave. Helena MT 59601
Phone:  (406) 449-5210

MWCA 2013 Minutes

Friday, March 8th, 2013


Board of Directors Minutes – January 2013

Biological Weed Control Working Group Minutes – January 15, 2013

Board of Directors Meeting – March 2013

Board of Directors Meeting – June 2013

Board of Director Minutes- September 2013

Board of Directors Minutes – November 2013

Biological Weed Control Working Group Minutes – November 18-20, 2013

Applying Biological Control Methods For Weed Management – MSU Weed Post

Sunday, December 30th, 2012


Biological control agents are organisms (e.g. insects, nematodes or fungi) that can be used to manage large weed populations. Typically these organisms are natural enemies of the target species in their native continent and are introduced to their new range following testing to ensure they do not harm non-target plants. Biocontrol agents have been approved and released for several weed species in Montana. Download the complete post to find out the ins and outs of biocontrol from beginning to end.

This publication is produced by Montana State University Extension and the Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign