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Die, loosestrife, die!

Can imported beetles help beat back the purple loosestrife that, while pretty to look at, is choking local wetlands? Jennifer Forman Orth reports on a field trip by the state Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project to Cutler Park on the Dedham/Needham line (at Great Plain Avenue off 128). Workers released 7,500 Galerucella beetles, which just loves them some purple loosestrife:

... The 7,500 beetles slated to be released in Cutler Park were packed in ice cream containers filled with straw, and stored in ice packs to keep the beetles calm and cool on an excessively hot day(95'F, a new record!).

Beth set the buckets inside a few big patches of purple loosestrife and set the beetles free. The sight of two thousand beetles streaming out of a big bucket is pretty cool ...

She adds workers found evidence that the beetles they released there last year are reproducing.

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... every late-April/early May, I order ladybugs from BugLogical to eat the aphids who appear on my newly leafing viburnum. The ladybugs then proceed to eat all of the other aphids in on our block before moving to the Charles River bikeway (all of two blocks away).

Beneficial insects are a cheap fix; they don't poison your garden and they often take care of the problem for the whole season.

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Of course, this practice is one of the reasons why we are inundated with Asian lady beetles now (most people don't notice until the fall when they attempt home invasions)...but I was happy to note that FT's link above goes to a seller that ships native lady beetles :-).

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