|FYI — February 2002|
|By Brad Dunn|
to the Rescue
"This plant has been an enormous problem in 12 countries and three continents," says Philip Tipping, PhD, a research entomologist at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. "In the 1980s it brought the shipping industry in New Guinea to its knees. Now it's here."
But help is on the way. In October Tipping led a new assault on the vile vegetation. He released more than 1,000 Australian weevils at lakes in Texas and Louisiana. The insects, originally from Brazil, feed exclusively on the plant by tunneling through its foliage and eating its terminal buds.
The strategy has worked phenomenally in other places, including New Guinea. But will they kill off the Giant Salvinia here? "I would expect these insects to work extremely fast on this plant," Tipping says. "But we'll have to wait and see."
In the meantime, Tipping says boaters should be careful to clean their hulls thoroughly before hauling them to other lakes.
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This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.