Joy Paterson assists Ray Johnson in releasing bindweed mites into a patch of bindweed

Joy Paterson assists Ray Johnson in releasing bindweed mites into a patch of bindweed

Never heard of bindweed? It is a vining plant with white and pink flowers. Field Bindweed has an expansive rhizome network underground where the plant can reestablish after mechanical or chemical treatments. The weed is not a common weed problem to have in Nevada, however, it is a common contaminant in seed and can cause economic loss and out-compete desirable vegetation once established. Ray and Virginia Johnson with Custom Gardens understand this all too well.
They contacted the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension to obtain information about biological control of bindweed. We directed them to our recent update of “Biological Control Options for Invasive Weeds in Nevada”. Ray and Virginia contact Nevada Department of Agriculture, who did not currently have a program for biological control of bindweed.

Ray with marked releases of bindweed mite

Ray with marked releases of bindweed mite

After contacting USDA-APHIS and obtained the necessary permits, they have received two species, a moth and a mite, with two releases of mites and one release of moths.
I was able to come out and help them with one of the mite releases. Ray and Virginia understand that biological control efforts require years if effort to control, so this is a fight that they will continue over the next few years. We are working together to find additional agent sources and I will stop back by this fall to check for establishment.