Biological Control of European Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard
Buckthorn and garlic mustard are invasive species of highest priority for development of long-term management solutions, such as biological control. This research will help determine 1) if there are suitable insects that can be used to reduce impacts caused by buckthorn and 2) implement introduction of insects to control garlic mustard and assess their establishment and success.
Buckthorn. Researchers from the CABI Europe- Switzerland will continue to locate, identify and collect potential natural enemies of Rhamnus cathartica and Frangula alnus of Rhamnus spp in Europe. Host specificity studies (make sure the insects will not eat plants native to MN and the U.S.) will continue on the high priority insect species. Insects will be prioritized based on their perceived potential to cause damage to buckthorn by impairing growth and/or reproduction, reduce vigor, or cause structural damage. Expected results include a priority list of potential control agents with information of their host specificity to native buckthorn species and other plants as determined. This information will guide future research and eliminate candidate insects that are not good potential agents.
Garlic mustard. The focus of this our work will include 1) development rearing methods for garlic mustard biological control insects to accelerate introductions in the field, 2) introduce control agents to selected field sites in Minnesota, and 3) evaluate the establishment of the first garlic mustard biological control agents in the field.