The state is releasing thousands of weevils this week that feed on one of the most highly-invasive plants. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.
The Mile A Minute weed grows six inches a day and up to 25 feet per year. It out-competes native plants and reduces biological diversity. The University of Connecticut and the Agricultural Experiment Station are releasing 5000 weevils that feed only on the Mile A Minute vine. The so-called “beneficial” weevils are native to China, but were raised in a lab in New Jersey and shipped to Connecticut. Donna Ellis of UConn says this is the third year in a row the state has released thousands of weevils .
“We hope the weevils will get established at the release sites and start to feed on Mile A Minute and provide control of this very invasive vine.”
The weevils feed on the leaves of Mile A Minute and tunnel into the stems. As the weevil population builds up the plants become stressed and produce fewer fruits and seeds.
The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.