The tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda spp.) was released by the USDA in 2001 as a biological control agent for saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) in Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Initially, it was predicted that Diorhabda would not survive south of the 38th parallel. After the beetle was released, it rapidly expanded its range. In 2004, Diorhabda was released in Texas. In 2007, the Tamarisk Coalition partnered with other agencies to track the expansion of the beetles.
In May 2013, BEMP partnered with the Tamarisk Coalition and started tracking the presence and absence of Diorhabda at 22 of our 27 sites, ranging from Santo Domingo pueblo in the north and Lemitar (near Socorro) to the south. Four of the five sites not samples contain no tamarisk; Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, the southernmost site was not monitored. For the entire sampling season (May-August), tamarisk leaf beetles were present at 19 of the 22 sites samples. Sites where the beetle was not present included Reynolds Forest and Cleared in Belen and the Sevilleta site near San Acacia dam.
Click here to view BEMP data for 2013 Tamarisk beetle populations along the Middle Rio Grande Valley or view our Reports page to get a glimpse at our May - August 2013 overview.