Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Another option? Studying weevils' ability to control invasive species in Northwoods lakesSubmitted: 08/19/2014

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


BOULDER JUNCTION - The problem of invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil in Northwoods lakes never seems to stop.

Lake groups can cut it, but it often grows back.

Chemical treatments often work, but they put artificial ingredients into lakes.

What if there was another option?

We found one group on the hunt for one.

"We're on Boot Lake," Nick Winter says as we motor onto the water body near Eagle River.

The Lakeland Union High School graduate and current Minnesota-Duluth undergrad loves spending days on the lake.

"It's kind of fun to be around people that are as passionate about environmental problems as you are," he says.

Nick and two other college students are working on a study through the UW-Madison Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction.

Everything they do revolves around creatures only a few millimeters long.

"A weevil is a small insect and it's aquatic, so it lives underwater," Susan Knight explains.

She leads the project, which studies what impact these weevils have on invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil.

"They burrow down into the stem and eat their way down the stem," Susan says. "As they're eating the stem, that is killing off at least the top of the plant."

On the boat, Nick helps put a handful of plants into a Ziploc bag.

"These are going to be the plants that we're going to use to search for weevils," he says.

Last year, thousands of weevils were set free in three test lakes.

Susan, Nick, and the team want to find out if they're effective in killing the invasive milfoil.

"It would be really nice to know that there is a biological control," Susan says. "Some means of control that is not chemical."

Besides just the sample stems, "we take a biomass sample," Nick explains, "so we go take a rake pull and get all of the biomass that we can off of that."

Then, all of the samples are shuttled back to the lab.

"We have a pan for all of the natives and a pan for just the Eurasian. They'll go into a big drying oven for a few days," Susan explains. "We think that weevils would be a success if we saw more natives and less Eurasian."

While part of the team weighs the dried biomass, others spend hours peering into microscopes.

"It's kind of a necessary evil," Nick says about the lab work, laughing. "This is where we get all of the important information for our study."

"They will examine those plants to see whether or not there are weevils at any life stage: eggs, larva, pupae, and adults," Susan says.

The team picks out and preserves samples of the insects in all four stages.

They're the focus of all of the effort leading up to what Northwoods researchers hope is a firm answer.

"If we could get a clear-cut result and say, weevils did or did not have any effect on the biomass, that would be ideal," Susan says.

They've still got plenty of data collection and number-crunching left to do before they find that answer.

But until then, on the water is not a bad place to spend a college summer.

"I feel like what we're doing is kind of like trailblazing," Nick says proudly. "It's a big project."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - Right now you need a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin.

That could be changing.

+ Read More

MADISON - American Indian leaders in Wisconsin will give their annual State of the Tribes address to the Legislature and constitutional officers on April 4th.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in a news release Tuesday that Stockbridge-Munsee tribe President Shannon Holsey will give the speech this year.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAONA - Workers will need to start from scratch to rebuild the Silver Lake Inn supper club in Laona.

Only rubble and a stubborn brick chimney remain there right now. Fire ripped through the building in late November. Now, those charred remains have been torn down.

Owner Karen Davis said they plan to rebuild. She said her goal is to have it open again by the end of the year.

Laona Fire Chief Dave Rosio said he has yet to receive a report from the state fire marshal, who investigated the cause of the fire.


+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Cracked concrete, twisted rebar, and overgrown trees and bushes don't paint the most ideal picture for a park. But a Rhinelander alderman sees the perfect chance for a peaceful place to enjoy nature.

Alderman Alex Young hopes to turn an old snow dumping dock site into a "pocket park."  The site sits where Norway Street runs into the Wisconsin River behind Ripco Credit Union and the DNR Service Center building.

+ Read More

WESTON - Dozens of people planned to show up to Sunday's vigil. Community members brought balloons, ribbons and, of course, candles.

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School sporting events got an attendance boost this winter. At the same time, local charities benefited from the community's generosity.

The school's Varsity Club sponsored six nights of special events, one for each winter sport. The Varsity Club gave out T-shirts printed with team rosters. Meanwhile, fans brought donations for local charities.

"Each kid would walk in and they'd put on their T-shirt," said Varsity Club member Jackie Elliott. "When we got our student section going, they were all together, and you just had this block of white. It was awesome."

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - People lived through detours, dust, and demolition throughout most of 2016 in downtown Rhinelander. Residents won't see that kind of work in 2017, but the city is planning more closures and road work to finish up the Streetscape Project.

Crews will start with the Davenport Street Bridge shutting down for a month in starting April 17.  Public Works Director Tim Kingman says some sections of concrete, sidewalk, and asphalt pavement shifted, settled and cracked over the winter.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here