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

Biological Control

Montana Action Plan for the Biological Control of Invasive Plants

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015


The Montana Biological Control Working Group has produced the Montana Action Plan for Biological Control of Invasive Plants.   Download your copy of the document: Montana Action Plan for Biological Control of Invasive Plants

This was produced by: The Montana Biological Control Working Group (MBCWG) was convened in 2008 as a functional unit under the Montana Weed Control Association’s Integrated Weed Management Chair. The MBCWG is an open membership group comprised of interested stakeholders including private individuals and participants from state, federal, county, and other organizations. The MBCWG is charged with developing a structure to assist in and improve the current methods for the redistribution and monitoring of biological control agents in the state of Montana. Our plans are to identify any deficiencies in the current implementation of weed biological control in Montana and suggest measures to improve biological control as a weed management tool.
The mission of the group: To advance the use of biological control as an integrated management tool to reduce invasive weeds and their impacts in Montana

MSU Report for the Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund Advisory Council

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013


This report for the Montana Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council was assembled in compliance with the Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund Act and Administrative Rules which require an annual report from the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and Montana State University Extension Service on current projects and future plans. This report is a compilation of major weed science research and education activities conducted by MSU over the past three years and includes highlights of funded Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund grants as well as comprehensive reporting of all weed science research products and education funding and activities.

Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund Projects 2010–2012

  • Biological Control of Common Tansy and Oxeye Daisy, Jeff Littlefield
  • Biological Control of Invasive Hawkweed and Tansy Ragwort, Jeff Littlefield
  • Biological Control of Russian Knapweed, Jeff Littlefield
  • Biological Control of Whitetop and Perennial Pepperweed,Jeff Littlefield
  • Can Biological Control and Targeted Sheep Grazing be Integrated to Suppress Spotted Knapweed?, Jeff Mosley
  • Cheatgrass Ecology and Integrated Management, Jane Mangold
  • Continental Divide Invasive Weed Barrier Zone, Kim Goodwin
  • Establishing and Monitoring Insectaries for Yellow Toadflax Biocontrol, David Weaver
  • Herbicide Resistance Extension Information for Montana Producers, William Dyer
  • Identifying and Testing Candidate Agents for Russian Olive Biocontrol, David Weaver
  • Implementing EDRR in Montana Using the INVADERS Database, Jane Mangold
  • Integration of Pathogens, Sheep, and Herbicides to Manage Cheatgrass, Fabian Menalled
  • Missouri River Watershed Coalition Coordination, Elizabeth Galli-Noble
  • Rangeland Revegetation Revisited, Jane Mangold        Saltcedar Effects on Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities and Screening of Native Species for Restoration, Erik Lehnhoff
  • Tall Buttercup Ecology and Integrated Management, Jane Mangold
  • Weed Free Borders Protection Program, Kim Goodwin
  • Weed Management Certification Program, Jane Mangold
  • Weed Seedling Identification Guide, Jane Mangold

Download a copy of the complete report 2013 MSU Annual Report to the MNWTF

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

Toadflax – MSU November Weed Post

Thursday, November 29th, 2012


This month MSU is  featuring Dalmatian and yellow toadflax, including information on their hybridization.  Didn’t know they could hybridize???  Well, then there is definitely something new for you in this month’s post from Montana State University.  Download the  November 2012 MSU Weed Post on toadflax.

Visit the MWCA Weed ID page for details about Dalmatian Toadflax and Yellow Toadflax.  Contact your local weed coordinator if you think you find it in your area.

MSU June Post – Biological Control

Saturday, June 30th, 2012


Biological control is a term often used to describe insects that help to control noxious weeds.   The June MSU Monthly Weed Post provides updated information about some of the agents currently available for leafy spurge, spotted knapweed, dalmatian toadflax and houndstonge.

Download the June 2012 Monthly Weed Post from Montana State University.

Visit the MWCA Biological Weed Control page for more information.  Contact your local weed coordinator for help getting biocontrol agents in your area.

MSU Research updates

Thursday, April 12th, 2012


MSU has published a weed research update.   It includes information on the following:

  • Mechanisms driving nonnative plant-mediated changes in small mammal populations and communities
  • Wild Oat Herbicide Resistance
  • Russian olive removal and revegetation
  • Impacts of saltcedar on ecosystems in Montana
  • Sulfur cinquefoil life history in northwest Montana
  • Vegetation surveys to quantify weed threats
  • Toadflax research
  • Common tansy control in natural areas

Download the MSU April 2012 Monthly Weed Post for complete details.

2010 Statewide Biological Control Monitoring Report

Thursday, October 21st, 2010


APHIS-PPQ completes a second season of the statewide biological control monitoring program in cooperation with Montana Dept. of Ag. and the BLM. Over the past two years, this project has been helping counties, state and federal agencies, and Indian Reservations with monitoring past biological control releases and assessing the potential for collectibility when they find established populations.  Download your copy of  the report for the work completed in 2010.

Bear Trap Success Story

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010


In April of 2001 a float trip down the Madison River was conducted involving members of the BLM, the Montana Wilderness society, Madison County, U.S. Forest Service, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Gallatin County and other interested individuals. They determined that due to the size, density and location of the current infestations, that eradication was no longer an option but that a long term plan of control and containment would be more practical and cost effective. With members of the original group plus a Dow AgroSciences representative and others knowledgeable in noxious weed control a second float trip was conducted in August to help devise a plan of action.

Weed control was initiated in the fall of 2001 using both biological agents and herbicide. The biological control was released in the more inaccessible areas above the river and above the hiking trails, while herbicide was used along the trails and from the trails to the river, where public use is the highest. Herbicide application was done as a joint effort between the BLM and the Madison County Weed Board with joint spray days being held twice yearly, one in the spring and the other in the fall. After the first year of treatment we were surprised at how the native grasses came back and became fairly competitive with the knapweed. In 2002, 2003, and 2004 a private contractor treated the road leading into the trailhead and any of the trails that couldn’t be covered during the joint spray days. Starting in 2005 the BLM hired a crew of two sprayers that would take over the role of the private contractor. A minimum of three float trips a year were scheduled in order to gain access to some infestations of Leafy Spurge that are inaccessible by land.

To date the project has met with great success. The size and density of the noxious weed infestations has been reduced dramatically with the only problem being the re-infestation of some of the treated areas by cheatgrass. Beginning in 2010 we hope to get the original group together again to determine what our strategy for the next ten years will be and how we will handle the re-vegetation of some of the areas infested by cheatgrass.

Compatibility of Seed Head Biological Control Agents and Mowing for Management of Spotted Knapweed

Monday, April 5th, 2010


Authors: Jim M. Story, Janelle G. Corn, and Linda J. White

Summary: Seed head insects, primarily the seed head fly, Urophora affinis, and the seed head weevils, Larinus spp., are reducing spotted knapweed seed production by about 94% in most areas of western Montana. Studies were conducted on the compatibility of seed head biological control agents and mowing for management of spotted knapweed.  Our study demonstrated that mowing of spotted knapweed in the spring and early summer can result in the growth of secondary flower buds which escape attack by seed head biocontrol agents, thereby allowing the knapweed to produce a nearly-normal complement of seed.  Therefore, we conclude that the historical practice of mowing spotted knapweed during the spring and early summer with no follow-up mowings should be avoided if large populations of seed head biocontrol agents are present.

Download a copy of the research article.

Influence of Seed Head-Attacking Biological Control Agents on Spotted Knapweed

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010


Complete Title: Influence of Seed Head-attacking Biological Control Agents on Spotted Knapweed Reproductive Potential in Western Montana over a 30-year Period

Authors: Jim M. Story, Lincoln Smith, Janelle G. Corn & Linda J. White

Summary:  Studies were conducted on the impact of seed head insects on spotted knapweed reproductive potential in western Montana over a 30-year period.  Results indicated that seed head insects are reducing seed production by about 94% in many areas of western Montana.  The reduction of knapweed seed production has resulted in a 98% reduction in the knapweed seed bank which, in turn, has contributed to the decline of knapweed in these areas.  Of the seed head insects, the fly, Urophora affinis, and the weevils, Larinus obtusus and L. minutus, are having the greatest impact on knapweed seed production.  The current decline of spotted knapweed in many areas is likely due to the impact of the seed head insects on the knapweed seed bank and the effects of the root weevil, Cyphocleonus achates, on mature plants.

Download a copy of the research article.