The City of Orlando will release a clutch of special beetles on Friday, June 28 to combat the spread of invasive plants.
The air potato is a species of perennial vine that can grow up to 65-feet long and has the nasty habit of smothering native vegetation. The vine, which came to Florida from Asia in 1905, is terribly invasive and can alter whole habitats and displace native species.
Enter the Lilioceris cheni, or Air Potato Beetle, that survives on a diet of air potato leaves; and only air potato leaves – according to the Air Potato Biological Control Headquarters. The Orlando Parks Department will release a whole beetle-bunch of them at 11:30 a.m. at the corner of Turnbull and Commander Drives [GMap] near a particularly overgrown spot.
The beetles will be used to control the three-acre piece of City-owned property in an estimated three month timeline without the use of herbicides.
You can request your own box of air potato beetles for your property HERE.