Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

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

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
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

ANTIGO - With one of the coldest days of the season so far, most people probably chose to stay inside Wednesday.

But for people in Antigo it was the perfect day to get outside and cook up some chili.

Antigo held its annual chili cook-off. 

+ Read More

Play Video

PINE COUNTY - State politicians face a battle over paying for Wisconsin roads. This week, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos rode in an ambulance to show just how bumpy some roads are. One Price County woman had a real-life ride over rough roads in an ambulance. 

Not long ago, Sandy Krueger suffered a dislocated shoulder and sprained ankle after falling down a flight of stairs. An ambulance gave Kruger a painful ride over rocky roads to the hospital. Krueger says the EMT driver would even warn her when they were about to hit a "rough spot" in the road. 

+ Read More

RIB MOUNTAIN - Granite Peak in Wausau wants to expand, but some people don't want that to happen. 

The Granite Peak ski area held a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss those plans. The public was invited to hear about the expansion and to get answers to any of their questions.

+ Read More

Play Video

ELCHO - If you pass through Elcho, you can't miss the hundreds of Christmas lights as you drive down Highway 45.

The Elcho Christmas staple is all thanks to a couple who spends weeks setting up the display, after they spend most of their time saving lives.

Carl Bloechl and Lissa Iwanoski are both EMTs. Carl is also a R.N. in Antigo.

For four years now, the couple sets up decorations at an office building off of Highway 45 in Elcho.

It takes a couple of weeks and they use their time in between shifts to get the job done.

"We just hope we don't get called. Sometimes we do get called and we just drop it all and leave it out here and go," said Bloechl.

The cold winter weather usually slows down the set up, but this year's warmer weather allowed the couple to enjoy the visitors earlier.

"It makes me feel good inside that they enjoy it too, because it is work," said Iwanowski.

The display will be on until the beginning of next year.

The lights stay on from around 4:00 p.m. through 11:00 p.m.



+ Read More

MADISON - The University of Wisconsin Law School has notified more than 1,200 former applicants that they could be at risk of identity theft because the school's database was hacked.

The university says Social Security numbers from 2005 to 2006 applicants were recently compromised. The Law School has taken down the affected server as a result and added a firewall to better protect that data.

+ Read More

LA CROSSE - The death of a woman initially thought to be the result of a freak accident on a La Crosse County road has now been blamed on her husband.

Forty-six-year-old Barbara Kendhammer, of West Salem, was found critically injured after authorities responded to a car crash Sept. 16. Her husband, Todd Kendhammer, told authorities a pipe fell from a truck as he was driving, broke through the windshield and hit his wife, who died the following day.

+ Read More

GREEN BAY - Students have left a Green Bay elementary school for the day after a mercury scare.

The students at Lincoln Elementary were dismissed at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, about an hour after the normal time, after being checked for mercury.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here