County voices support for biological weed deterrents

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Bonner County Commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter of support for two biological control agents — insects — that could help control certain noxious weeds in North Idaho.

Aphalara itadori and cheilosia urbana may be utilized to manage knotweeds and hawkweeds, respectively. The insects dine on the weeds, making them a biological means to cut down on those plants’ populations.

Bonner County Weeds Manager Chase Youngdahl drafted the letter to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service division, which expresses the county’s desire to utilize the insects should they be made an option for weed management.

“These have been studied for quite a while,” Youngdahl said. “Those of us in the noxious weeds world have been waiting with bated breath to get to this particular point.”

Careywood resident Kevin Moore asked for clarification regarding when Bonner County would begin to use the insects for noxious weed abatement, to which Youngdahl responded there’s no set timeline until APHIS moves into the permitting process.

“We’re not there yet,” Youngdahl said. “This is just a letter of support to wrap up the Environmental Assessment to move forward with permitting so we can acquire these.”

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