The University of Rhode Island Biological Control
Welcome to the University of Rhode Island’s Biological Control Lab Website! If you’re interested to know more about what biocontrol is, click here. Here are some of our current and exciting projects:
Swallow-worts are a common invasive weed that can lead to a decrease in native monarch butterfly populations. Fortunately, a European moth might be able to help the monarch butterfly by decreasing swallow-wort numbers. Click here for more information.
Lily Leaf Beetle
A common and beautiful ornamental plant in many New England gardens, Lilies look great in any garden. However, sometimes if you look closer, you may begin to notice holes in the leaves, brown blobs on the undersides of leaves, and eventually total defoliation of the lily. This can be attributed to the Lily Leaf Beetle, a pest that’s all too familiar in many New England gardens. Luckily, there are already signs of population decrease due to three species of non-stinging parasitic wasps that URI has been helping to spread. For more information, click here.
In most wetlands of Rhode Island you will find Phragmites australis or the common reed. Phragmites is an invasive species of reed that spreads quickly and forms dense growths which can quickly out-compete other native species. This rapidly decreases the habitat for native wildlife and can hinder human movement through wetlands. There are no permanent solutions to deal with this weed; biocontrol is a good long term option. Currently there are two species of moth that the biocontrol lab has been testing that show promise. Click here to find out more.