Biological Control


March April May June July
Attend workshop; obtain supplies Dig plants Collect beetles for plants Identify release site Release new generation beetles


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.

Item Item #/Description Amount Needed Approx. Cost Suggested Vendor Vendor Phone
Plastic pots PTBC3 Polytainers
3 gallon black or recycled pots
24 (per 2 pools) $43 per sleeve of 35 W.H. Milikowski, Inc. 1-800-243-7170
Compressed soil 710B38 Premiere Pro-Mix BX 3.8 cubic ft. 1 bale $18.00 W.H. Milikowski, Inc. 1-800-243-7170
Fertilizer Osmocote (or equivalent controlled-release fertilizer 1 cup per bale of soil  $4.50 per l lb. bag any hardware store  
Bamboo stakes to support sleeve cages 4 ft. long  98 (4 per pot)  $40 per 500 Griffin Greenhouse & Nursery Supply or any hardware store 203-699-0919
Children's wading pool 5 ft. diameter 2 per 24 pots $19.98 ($9.99 ea.) Toys-r-Us 860-644-7606
Sheer material for sleeve cages
(Polyester Organza) [revised April 2005]
#1824770 20 yards (60" width) per 12 sleeve cages $90 ($4.49 per yard) Jo-Ann Fabric or other fabric store 860-648-1845
Cord stops ("Elipse lock") #442100221242 24 $8.40 ($0.35 ea.) Eastern Mountain Sports 860-644-3517
Cord for sleeve cages   120 ft. $6.00 ($2 per 50-ft. roll) any hardware store