Missouri using weevils to consume roadside weeds

Thursday, September 29, 2011 | 7:54 a.m. CDT; updated 10:36 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 29, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — State officials are deploying a small bug with a long snout to try to control the spread of a particular weed along Missouri roadways.

The "seedhead weevils" are being used to eat the flowers and seeds of the spotted knapweed.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said the weeds typically grow in poor soil along cut rocks and steel slopes and produce an herbicide in their roots that kills other nearby plants.

Although some consider their flowers to be pretty, the knapweeds can spread onto private lawns and pastures and are hard to eliminate.

But seedhead weevils can spread through a knapweed patch in a few years. The department said a second kind of weevil, sometimes called a "cy," also is used to control the knapweeds.

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Ray Shapiro September 29, 2011 | 12:51 p.m.

Knapweeds must be some kind of Jeff City code word for poppies.

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