For five years, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has been nurturing Mile-a-Minute weevils (Rhinoncomimus latipes) in northern Virginia and the Piedmont.
The weevils, which feed specifically on the Mile-a-Minute (MAM) weed, were released at various sites in these areas as part of a biological control cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture. The weevils are now well established and helping to control this aggressive weed.
VDACS recently relocated 450 weevils from an established site in Madison County to a new location in Grayson County where they will help control the MAM weed. MAM is a very vigorous, barbed weed that quickly smothers other plants, shrubs and even trees by growing over them. The Mile-a-Minute name comes from their very rapid growth, up to 6 inches per day. VDACS will continue to collect and then release the weevils to new locations within Virginia to help control the spread of the weed.
-Submitted by Elaine J. Lidholm