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2018 Air Potato Challenge Day Events: Information and Registration

The UF/IFAS Extension St Lucie County and the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center are teaming up with partner agencies to conduct Air Potato Challenge Days in 2018.  During these events, residents and public land managers struggling with invasive air potato can come to the Challenge event location to learn about this invasive pest plant and receive a supply of air potato leaf beetles for use on their properties. There is no charge for this program. The insects will only be available for pick up during this event. Residents are encouraged to bring a cutting of air potato for confirmation.

Air potato is one of Florida’s most problematic invasive plants. The air potato leaf beetle is a small but formidable enemy of this invasive plant. The insect is bright red, about the size of a pinky fingernail, and has a big appetite for the invasive air potato plant whose vines can completely consume natural areas, smothering other plants and native habitat. Researchers have shown that air potato leaf beetles are host-specific to air potato and will not feed on other plants. The beetles chew through air potatoes leaves, leaving them riddled with holes.

If you are too far to participate in a Challenge Day, you can still request air potato leaf beetles on our project website

This program is made possible by funding from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

No additional Challenge Day Events are planned.

August 31, 2018 – UF/IFAS Extension Duval County
What:           Air Potato Challenge Day
Where:        UF/IFAS Extension Duval County
Address:     1010 N McDuff Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32254
Date:           August 31, 2018
Time:          8 a.m. – Noon
Costs:        Free of Charge
Registration:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/air-potato-challenge-day-duval-county-tickets-48969325571
Information:  Larry Figart at (904) 255-7450 or Lfigart@ufl.edu

June 6, 2018 – UF/IFAS Extension Bay County
What:              Air Potato Challenge
Where:            UF/IFAS Extension Bay County
Address:         2728 E 14th Street, Panama City, FL 32401
Date:               June 6, 2018, 2018
Time:              9 a.m. – noon
Costs:              Free of charge
Registration:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/june-6-2018-air-potato-challenge-leaf-beetles-available-for-the-public-bay-county-fl-tickets-44839855214
Information:  Julie McConnell at (850) 784-6105 or juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu

May 18, 2018 – UF/IFAS Extension Leon County & Florida A&M
What:              Air Potato Challenge
Where:            FAMU Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research
Address:         6361 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL
Date:               May 18, 2018
Time:              9 a.m. – noon
Costs:              Free of charge
Registration:  Required.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/may-18-2018-air-potato-challenge-leaf-beetles-available-for-the-public-leon-county-fl-tickets-44793035174
Information:  Call Ken Gioeli at 772-462-1660 or ktgioeli@ufl.edu