Wisconsin Students Battle Purple Loosestrife

Galerucella pusilla laying eggs (edmonton.ca)

Galerucella pusilla laying eggs (edmonton.ca)

     Students at Birchwood Blue Hills Charter School, who have been raising galerucella beetles for the past few months, recently tied them up in nets and made their way alongside local groups to release approximately 6,000 beetles into the local wetlands . The beetles, which are host-specific to purple loosestrife (that’s all they eat!), have been released around Red Cedar Lake and its wetlands in numbers totaling 18,000 since the program was first introduced in 2011.  

     Purple loosestrife, an invasive aquatic plant, is known for forming mono-cultures, and while many consider it a “pretty plant” it is as detrimental to local water bodies as other, less appealing aquatic invasive species.