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Air potato beetle larvae: new orders are on hold

Air potato beetle

Air potato vines have become a common sight across most of Florida. Efforts have been underway for many years to control the spread of this invasive, non-native vine. For the past few years, the University of Florida and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) have worked together to make air potato beetle larvae available to the public. These tiny beetle larvae eat air potato vines, effectively slowing their spread.

These little larvae are proving to be so effective, that FDACS currently has a backlog of orders. Please note that FDACS is filling existing orders before taking new orders.

If you would like to order air potato beetle larvae to release on your property, periodically visit the order form website. Be forewarned: the link currently takes you to an error message page. But, don’t worry! This is intentional. When FDACS starts taking orders again, the link will take you to the order form.

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6 Comments on “Air potato beetle larvae: new orders are on hold

  1. 06/28/2021 I picked up air potato beetles from my closest Ag Extension Office in 2019 . I had filled out the forms from UF/IFAS . I saw some return last year but this year so far nothing. My 1 acre lot has a great deal of natural woods in the city and is being taken over once again by the vines similar to 2018 . Today I started hand cutting and pulling the vines in the woods. I always put the fruit and vines directly in the garbage . Where can I ” purchase ” some more to help not only me but all of my adjoining neighbors with wooded 1 acre lots as well ?I know my neighbor on one side has been on this program before also. Thanks and best regards, Tony R. Weston.

    • Hi, Tony, and thank you for your interest and inquiry. Per our resident insect expert (Carol Wyatt-Evens, our chemicals in the environment agent):
      “The air potato beetle has now established in Florida, so officials no longer rear them for distribution. Established adult beetles should be visible about six weeks after the plant is vining. They do not show up with the newly emerged plant, since there would not be enough food to support the larvae to the adult stage.”

      Hope that helps! — UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County

  2. I would like to get air potato leaf beetles for people I garden for or pass on information to them. can you tell us how to procure them? thank you. judith haglund 9413232295

    • Hi, Judith. We consulted with our resident insect expert (Carol Wyatt-Evens, our chemicals in the environment agent), and here is her reply:
      “The air potato beetle has now established in Florida, so officials no longer rear them for distribution. Established adult beetles should be visible about six weeks after the plant is vining. They do not show up with the newly emerged plant, since there would not be enough food to support the larvae to the adult stage.”

      Hope that helps! — UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County

    • Hi, Bobbie. Unfortunately, as noted in the blog post, the state has put a temporary hold on any new air potato beetle requests until such time as it can get caught up with backlog. And, given there is no pre-determined time for when new requests will be accepted, your best bet is to frequently visit the link noted in the post. Hope that helps!
      – UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County

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