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I live in Utah and I've been googling for 20 minutes and can't seem to find any were that sells them. Were can i buy puncutrevine Weevils to control the puncturevine in my yard?

  • Hi Dan, your question doesn't fit well here. I see you got some good answers that show why. Where you can biological controls in Utah is likely to change and become out of date. – kevinsky Sep 18 at 10:37
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When controlling Puncturevine there are numerous methods to reduce the growth of this plant. There is

The mechanical approach in which using a hoe in early spring and summer to cut the plant off at its tap root will aid in the reduction of the plant. Then if mulch is applied afterwards that will also cut down on the growth of the plant. In short by cutting the plant back as much as possible before it flowers in March - October seems to work favorably for most. By preventing it from flowering you will reduce the number of seeds produced.

The chemical approach is not commonly used unless there is a large area that needs to be treated but if you decide to go that route then make sure you read and understand the consequences associated with the use of products with oryzalin, benefit, or trifluralin in them. Also know that these Chemicals attack the seeds so using it on the plants will not be affective.

Lastly, there is the method that you wish to use. Keep in mind that the biological method introduces an invasive species to an area where it is not commonly found. In doing this you run the risk of affecting other environments outside of the area in which you wish to be treated. Introducing a biological agent into an area where it is not normally found can also have unintended consequences. Look no further then stinkgrass (Eragrostis cilianensis), and prickly Russian thistle (Kali tragus). The reason why you cannot find the weevils is due to the fact that there are two Weevils that are used to control this plant. Which are originally from India, France, and Italy. One type of weevil attacks the seeds (Microlarinus lareynii) while the other attacks the plant itself (Microlarinus lypriformis). If you do not have both of these weevils then nothing will be accomplished and the plant will continue to grow. Therefore, you must make sure that you regularly check to make sure that both weevils are present. To make sure the seed eating weevils are present check to make sure there are holes in the seeds. To make sure the plant destroying weevils are there check to make sure there is a hole in the stem. To purchase these bugs its simple you cant without filling out the proper paper work. Yet, these bug are probably already on your plants and eating them. They are biological agents and will not cause enough damage to kill the plant completely as mentioned in the last article.

Thus, to answer your question you cannot buy these weevils alive. You can by them if you collect taxidermy beetles. The very last link is your best shot to obtain these bugs. Yet, if you really really want these bugs you can apply for a license an pay the necessary fees and you will be able to import them or raise them " Legally". Nothing stopping you from driving down to New Mexico where populations are established and bringing them home to Utah. That may not be legal or in your best interest unfortunately.

http://invasives.wsu.edu/biological/microlarinuslareynii.htm

https://cals.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/byg/archive/managingpuncturevine.html

https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/life/sunlife/2019/07/07/can-weed-weevils-take-care-goatheads/1649777001/

http://invasives.wsu.edu/biological/microlarinuslareynii.htm best chance to obtain weevils here

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I can tell you from experience that biological controls can be difficult to obtain. Usually they don't become commercially available, so you end up either having to collect them in the wild yourself, or you have to track down and contact someone who was involved in the original research, and ask their advice. And that advice is sometimes just recommendations about where and how to collect the biological control agent yourself. If you're very lucky, someone at your state department of agriculture may be working on a program to distribute a biological control around the state. Even if they're not already working on it, if you get on the phone with exactly the right person, you may inspire them to start such a program.

According to the Noxious Weed Field Guide for Utah provided by the Agricultural Extension program at Utah State University,

Biocontrol [for puncturevine] may be available. Herbicides are also effective. Contact your state or county weed specialist for specific, updated information.

The Noxious Weeds Program (part of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food) seems like a good place to contact at the state level. The Noxious Weeds Program page has an email address and phone number for the head of that program.

At the county level, try contacting the Agricultural Extension office for your county. Expect the first person who answers the phone to be very confused by your request. Biological controls are not widely used. At first, they may think you are asking about how to kill weevils. Be patient, explain your request clearly, as many times as necessary.

If all of that fails and you're still feeling motivated, try contacting any local colleges or universities. Find the university department that's most likely to be interested in biological controls of invasive weeds. Ideally, a department of agriculture, but you may have luck with botany, entomology, biology, or environmental science. Look at the faculty descriptions for that department, and try to find a professor who seems like they might be interested. Contact that professor, and ask if they have ever considered doing a field study using those specific weevils to control puncturevine. If yes, offer your yard as a field test site. If not, ask if they can suggest any of their colleagues who might be interested. Lather, rinse and repeat until some scientists show up at your property and let loose some weevils (or until you get fed up and just decide to use herbicide).

Good luck.

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