First greenhouse raised weevils nearing release on Caddo Lake

By Josh Marcisz |

Published 08/13 2014 05:26PM

Updated 08/13 2014 06:37PM

In east Texas on the banks of Caddo Lake there is reason for excitement.

"This is exactly what I had in mind, this is mass production meets science," says Lee Eisenberg, Director of the newly opened Morley Hudson Weevil Greenhouse in Uncertain, Texas.

The greenhouse, the result of hard work and fundraising from the Greater Caddo Lake Association of Texas is the first high production weevil rearing facility in the world. The goal is to raise nearly 160,000 of the tiny beetles that diet exclusively on giant salvinia, the invasive weed that has choked waterways on the lake since 2006.

Eisenberg says by next week they could begin identifying locations to release the first batch of greenhouse weevils with a release likely to follow by the end of the summer.

Residents say they aren't sure what to expect when the tiny weevils are released to combat a salvinia infestation that carries on for miles across the scenic lake but they know it represents the best hope.

"You know, it gets depressing when you start seeing it float down the river here, which last year was the first year we started seeing that," says lake resident, Philip Sanford, motioning to the waterway in his backyard.

Until now expensive herbicide applications have been the primary treatment method.

"You can go out and spray and kill a thousand acres and feel really good about yourself and you can come back in two months and look like you were never there, what you really need is something that interacts continually with the plant," says Eisenberg.

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