Saturday, July 07, 2012

Weevil meet again, dunno where, dunno when

Could this little chap be the answer to all our prayers when it comes to defeating the dreaded Azolla..? They might not look like much, but they breed like rabbits. An initial stocking of the 2mm long North American weevil, Stenopelmus rufinasus to his friends, can multiply into millions within weeks.

And with all that makin' whoopee going on, they get pretty hungry. Stenopelmus is monophagous, when its tiny tummy starts to rumble. That means they only eat one thing. And that one thing happens to be Azolla - aka the floating weed which blankets some of the drains, making them unfishable by autumn.

You don't need a licence to release them. And you can buy them online from these people, who do a starter pack for £120, plus postage. Keeping an infestation under control on a large water body is going to cost a fair bit more than this, initially. Azolla Control - the people who breed the weevils, somewhere in Surrey - reckon they can do you enough to munch their way through 50 sqm of weed for £342.

But the mild winters which favour the weed - it didn't completely die on a couple of waters I fished last season - also mean the weevils may survive. The Environment Agency has been experimenting with weevils on one of the Boston drains.  Well worth keeping an eye on, if a few hundred quids' worth of the things spread and keep the water clear.

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