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    The Southern Region IPM Center is located at North Carolina State University, 1730 Varsity Drive, Suite 110, Raleigh, NC 27606, and is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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Citizen Scientists are helping air potato beetle take a bite out of a major weed pest

A citizen science program in Florida is keeping track of how successfully the air potato beetle is keeping air potato in check.

Native to Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, air potato is a member of the yam family. The plant was first identified in the U.S. back in 1777 and spread throughout the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. It is now a problem weed in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. In both Alabama and Florida, it is listed as a noxious weed. Continue reading

Air Potato Biological Control program seeking collaborators

The Florida Department of Agriculture has an active biological control program for air potato, Dioscorea bulbifera, that has been implemented successfully throughout Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. They are mass-producing a chrysomelid beetle, Lilioceris cheni, which feeds mainly on the foliage along with some feeding of the weed’s aerial propagules.  This beetle has been shown to be highly specific to this single yam species.  Significant impacts have been noticed in total vine-length, propagule mass, and increases in plant diversity on sites that have L. cheni populations controlling this weed.  Additionally, there is another beetle species, L. egena, with larvae that develop within the aerial propagules which has recently been submitted to TAG for approval and may be available in the coming year as well. Continue reading