Gallandt, doctoral candidate speak with BDN about seed-eating ground beetle

Eric Gallandt, a professor of weed ecology and management at the University of Maine, and Sonja Birthisel, a UMaine weed ecology doctoral candidate, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for an article about a ground beetle that eats weed seeds. “The ground beetle seed predators rank up there in my top four ways to manage weed seeds,” Gallandt said. “In agriculture systems, the key to weeds’ success is their ability to scatter their seeds on the surface of the soil [and] when those seeds are on the surface, the seed predators are able to get at them more easily.” Birthisel looked at ground beetle seed predation in her master’s thesis and found that where the beetles are allowed to roam and feed, fewer weeds are often observed, the article states. “These beetles are something that naturally occur in the ecosystem that are good for farmers and gardeners,” Birthisel said. “I think they are kind of cute [and] they eat a fair number of weed seeds and prey on other pests like aphids and cutworms.”