Air Potato Leaf Beetles

2019 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 2019.  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.

June 18, 2019 – UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County
What: Air Potato Challenge
Where: UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County
Address: 1303 17th Street West, Palmetto, FL 334221
Date: June 18, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Costs: Free of charge
Information: Alyssa Vinson, (941) 722-4524 ext. 1822,

May 22, 2019 – UF/IFAS Extension Polk County 
What: Air Potato Challenge
Where: UF/IFAS Extension Polk County
Address: 1708 Highway 17 South, Bartow, FL 33830
Date: May 22 2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Costs: Free of charge
Information: Shannon Carnevale, (863) 519-1051,