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Control of leafy spurge euphorbia esula in nebraska usa with the spurge hawk moth hyles euphorbiae



Control of leafy spurge euphorbia esula in nebraska usa with the spurge hawk moth hyles euphorbiae



Weed Science 28(3): 235-240



The feasibility of using the spurge hawkmoth (H. euphorbiae L., Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) as a biological control agent on leafy spurge (E. esula L.) was evaluated. Studies relating adult hawkmoth emergence from the pupal stage and spring growth of leafy spurge plants showed that the plants would provide food and oviposition sites for the insect. Two generations of the insect may occur each year. Winter temperatures at approximately 2.5 cm below the soil surface or in the litter would result in some mortality of hawkmoth pupae. Pupal release programs indicated that protection from insect and rodent predators was necessary for adult emergence to occur. Predator determination using 32P indicated 2 specimens of Calosoma calidum Fab. and 2 specimens of Formica subsericea Say as possible predators. Predator determination using pitfall traps showed that several species listed by Canadian researchers as predators were present in leafy spurge stands in Nebraska. At this time it appears that the spurge hawkmoth will not become a valuable biological control agent for leafy spurge in Nebraska.

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