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Officials Combat Air Potato Scourge in Polk County

Officials Combat Air Potato Scourge in Polk County
Posted at 4:58 AM, Feb 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-11 00:03:24-05

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A recent sweep of air potato tubers in Polk County will help combat the spread of the invasive, exotic vine.

Workers from the Florida Department of Agriculture recently gathered nearly half a ton of air potatoes in conservation areas all over Polk County. Collecting the potatoes will prevent them from sprouting new vines.

But instead of heading for the landfill, this load went to Gainesville to help raise a beetle that is being released to control this nuisance vegetation.

The Lakeland Ledger (http://bit.ly/1Agrd4Y) reports that agriculture scientists in Gainesville will use the bulbils to grow air potato vines at a research facility.

The vines will be used to feed a species of beetle that has been released over much of Florida during the past two years to control the vines.

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Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), http://www.theledger.com

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