USDA assesses biological control agent
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposes issuing permits to allow the release of the beetle, Lilioceris cheni, as a biological control agent against the noxious weed, air potato ( Dioscorea bulbifera). Air potato is a twining vine that can grow to more than 65 ft (20 m) in length and out-compete native vegetation, the APHIS notes. It has become one of the most aggressive weeds in the state of Florida, the Service adds. An environmental assessment on the proposed release is open to public comment until February 18th.