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Colorado Insectary to Continue Providing Beneficial Insects
(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2004)
Colorado’s Insectary, a facility within the state’s Department of Agriculture that develops and provides biological pest controls, was recently saved from a potentially permanent shut-down, according to the April 15 2004 edition of Boulder Weekly. The insectary plays an important role in the Colorado community, growing an assortment of insects that are natural predators of Colorado’s weeds and insect pests, thereby reducing the use of hazardous pesticides.

The insectary was founded in 1944 in response to a local infestation of an orchard pest known as the Oriental fruit moth. The facility bred and released Macrocentrus ancylivorous, a natural predator of the fruit moth. Today, the insectary continues to encourage biological pest management and reduce hazardous chemical use by growing 46 types of beneficial insects. The facility is supported by landowners, farmers, ranchers and environmentalists for its ability to decrease the cost of pest control, increase efficiency and spare environmental degradation. Many love the facility because of its policy to distribute beneficial insects for free to communities in need. When the facility was on the chopping block by the Joint Budget Committee of Colorado Legislature, the groups joined together to help protect the valuable insectary.

As widespread support for the facility was voiced, the legislature was able to restore the insectary’s $400,000 budget. “When they found a little extra money, they restored it. We were pretty fortunate to end up with support,” said Don Ament, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture. Tim Seastedt, a researcher for the facility, welcomed the news. “What can you say except this is good news,” he commented. Seastedt found a successful control for the widespread diffuse knapweed in beetles and weevils. Read more about Dr. Seastedt's work from his articles Biological Control of Noxious Weeds: Using insects to manage invasive weeds and Dead Weeds or Healthy Ecosystems: Setting and achieving goals the ecological way.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the last battle the insectary will face. “Although I am sitting over here right now clapping my hands and smiling, I know very well next year it is going to be worse,” says Ament.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your local and state representatives about the need for biological pest management research to control pests in your area.