|Attend workshop; obtain supplies||Dig plants||Collect beetles for plants||Identify release site||Release new generation beetles|
FEBRUARY - MARCH
This is a good time to acquaint yourself and your students with the statewide program, learning about the biology of both the Galerucella beetles and purple loosestrife, and the problems that invasive non-native plants create in natural areas. Teachers and students can attend a Beetle Farmer workshop, generally held each year in March in several Connecticut locations.
You should also begin procuring supplies (see Beetle Farmer website for supply list), but the project doesn�t require a large budget for the items needed. For example, used three-gallon containers and potting mix may be donated by a local garden center or a homeowner. Sleeve cages made of bridal veil material or noseeum netting that are used to cover the plants while the Galerucella beetles go through their life cycle can be purchased or sewn, if you are handy with a sewing machine.
You will need to dig purple loosestrife plants by the third week in April and put them in the containers so they will have time to grow before introducing the adult Galerucella beetles onto them. If you subscribe to the Beetle Farmer List Serve, you will receive announcements for �Dig Days� where we meet at wetlands to dig purple loosestrife plants for the project.
Space requirements for this project are minimal, depending on the final number of Galerucella beetles desired. If you want to grow one or two plants you can put each plant in a plastic dishpan half-filled with water. At the University of Connecticut, we grow 24 potted purple loosestrife plants in two small wading pools and only need a 5-foot x 10-foot area.
Once the plants have reached 18 inches in height, you will visit a field insectary to collect a starter colony of beetles to put on the caged plants. Field insectaries are wetlands where the Galerucella beetles have already been introduced, have become established, and are controlling purple loosestrife. You will receive announcements on the Beetle Farmer List Serve for �Beetle Collection Days� beginning in late May where we will meet to gather the beetles for your plants. Approximately 15 adult Galerucella beetles are introduced onto each potted purple loosestrife plant.
If the purple loosestrife plants you grow are healthy and an average of 15 adult beetles is introduced onto each plant, we estimate that approximately 1,400 new beetles (offspring) will be produced per plant. If you grow 24 purple loosestrife plants you will produce 33,600 new generation beetles.