Alligatorweed Flea Beetles Hard at Work in Port St. Lucie, FL
Alligatorweed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is another invasive aquatic weed found in Florida. It originated in South America and has become a ubiquitous noxious weed in ponds throughout St. Lucie County and the Florida Treasure Coast. Fortunately, a biological control agent, the Alligatorweed Flea Beetle (Agasicles hygrophila), has been released in Florida.
In April 2021, Extension received a request for assistance with alligatorweed management in stormwater ponds in Port St. Lucie. Knowing the alligatorweed flea beetle was likely there, I made a site visit with the assistance of Dr. Carey Minteer, UF/IFAS researcher who specializes in biological control of invasive weeds. As expected, we confirmed that alligatorweed flea beetles were present and actively feeding on alligatorweed. That’s good news!