Leafy spurge is an exotic, noxious, perennial weed which is widely established in the north central United States and is an especially serious problem in the northern Great Plains. In 1997, the Agricultural Research Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), initiated a major Integrated Pest Management (IPM) research and demonstration project, TEAM Leafy Spurge (TLS), to develop and demonstrate ecologically based IPM strategies that can produce effective, affordable leafy spurge control. A key component of the project was to expand the use of biological control (biocontrol) agents, specifically flea beetles. To assess the level of insect establishment and the level of current and perceived future control of leafy spurge, a mail survey was conducted of 468 individuals who obtained biocontrol agents (insects) at TLS-sponsored events, as well as County Weed Boards in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. Respondents reported basic information about the number and characteristics of release sites, characteristics of leafy spurge stands, as well as the level of control to date and perceived level of eventual control. Substantial numbers of landowners and County Weed Boards have utilized biocontrol agents as part of their leafy spurge control efforts, as well as collected flea beetles from release sites for redistribution. Respondents indicated biocontrol efforts are affecting at least some level of control and, in some cases, reported substantial reductions in spurge stands.


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