Free air potato beetles available to St. Lucie County and Treasure Coast residents with invasive plant

Who:    UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County in partnership with the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center will host a free air potato beetle give away for residents who have the invasive air potato vine on their properties or who want to learn more about scientists’ efforts to control it.

What:    Air potato is one of Florida’s most problematic invasive plants. Air potato vines were brought into Florida in the early 1900s, and are now found in 60 out of 67 Florida counties and six other states. Air potato vines can completely consume natural areas, smothering other plants and native habitat.

Air potato leaf beetles chew through air potatoes leaves, leaving them riddled with holes. Over time, these beetles, which only feed on air potato, can reduce the plant by 25 to 70 percent. Residents who pick up beetles can release them on their own properties, where they will go to work on the vines.

To confirm that they have the invasive plant, residents are encouraged to bring a cutting of suspected air potato vines from their properties.

When:    July 13, 1 to 4 p.m.

Where:   UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County

8400 Picos Road, Suite 101

Fort Pierce, FL 34945

Contact: Samantha Grenrock, 352-294-3307, grenrosa@ufl.edu

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The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

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