Connecticut Purple Loosestrife Program

Purple Loosestrife
Purple Loosestrife at Mirror Lake

This project is no longer funded. For general information on invasive plants, please contact the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG): info@cipwg.org

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods can be used to control invasive plants in backyards, in parks, and in natural landscapes. IPM technologies include the use of biological, mechanical, cultural, and chemical controls. Biological control, the use of natural enemies to reduce an invasive plant's population below a biological or economic threshold, is a sustainable, low-input method to control a widespread invasive plant, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).

Galerucella leaf-feeding beetles have been approved for biological control of purple loosestrife, and these beneficial insects have been introduced into Connecticut wetlands since 1996. The beetles feed primarily on purple loosestrife leaves, stems, and flowers but do not prefer other kinds of plants. Feeding injury by the beetles helps to reduce purple loosestrife populations that invade wetland habitats in Connecticut and throughout the US.

The Beetle Farmer Program was initiated in Connecticut in 2004 to enhance educational outreach for biological control and to increase the distribution of the Galerucella beetles in the state. Since the statewide purple loosestrife program began in 1996, we have introduced more than 1.5 million Galerucella beetles, also known as purple loosestrife biological control agents, into 100+ wetlands in Connecticut where purple loosestrife control is needed.

Biological Control
  • 1996: Biological control began in CT
  • 110+ wetland sites
  • More than 1.5 million biological control agents released
  • Long-term monitoring studies
  • Outreach education
  • Rearing program
  • 725 Beetle Farmers trained
  • Participants include:
    • Landowners, towns, land trusts
    • Teachers and students
    • Scouts and Scout leaders
    • Master Gardeners