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Invasive Plants Being Killed Using Beetles in Bay County

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - An invasive plant growing across Florida and in the Panhandle is being treated in a unique way. Instead of pesticides, beetles are being used to eat the leaves.

The University of Florida Extension center held a free workshop where they handed out beetles to people who have air potato plants in their yards. The beetles eat the leaves and the plant dies. The air potato plant originates in Asia and is considered an invasive species that kills plants and trees. During the all-day event, people learned about invasive species from Florida Fish and Wildlife representatives and other local organizations. The goal was to raise awareness and give residents advice. 

"(Invasive species) just messes up the entire ecological system, that's the problem. Sometimes it can be an economic impact you know, farming communities, or people trying to manage it on their private lands, and we also have public health issues, a lot of mosquitos that transmit diseases are also invasive species," said Julie McConnell. 

If you see something outside that could be an invasive species, you can take a picture and send it to the Bay County Extension center for them to help identify.

You can email pictures to bay@ifas.ufl.edu.


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