a foreign army of 60 snout beetles was recently released into three marked plots of the Everglades in Florida. Their job is to arrest the expansion of melaleuca, a tree used for landscaping and to control erosion, that was first brought to the us at the turn of the century. The us department of agriculture has released the third batch of the imported snout beetle (Oxyops vitiosa) to devour the melaleuca. Researchers are hoping that the bugs would achieve what herbicides, fires and axes have failed to accomplish.
The melaleuca has been growing at such a rate that it has become an environmental threat to other plant life in the Everglades which is a unique ecosystem of marshlands that is home to myriad species of plants and animals.They cost more than us $4 million a year for controlling its encroachment on electrical equipment and power lines. The snout beetle is a docile, pudgy weevil that eats only melaleuca, preferably its new leaves and buds, thus arresting its spread. Researchers are planning to import other insects from Australia that feed on other parts of the melaleuca.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.