Beetles used to fight off air potato vine in Casselberry

Author: Julie Broughton, Weather
Published On: Sep 03 2013 06:21:09 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 03 2013 06:35:53 PM EDT
air potato beetle
CASSELBERRY, Fla. -

Seminole County is now home to 1,600 new beetles, imported from southeast Asia to combat a nuisance vine.

The air potato vine can grow up to 70 feet in one summer, killing trees and plants.

Casselberry City Commissioner Anthony Aramendia worked with the Florida Department of Agriculture to release the insects in four area parks.

"They will eat all the leaves,just as you see. After they eat the leaves, essentially the vine is eradicated," he said.

The air potato vine is native to southeast Asia.

"If we do not control an air potato, they will grow up a tree, choke its life and essentially bring a tree down."

Aramendia tells Local 6 the beetles will continue to repopulate and migrate as long as their food source, the air potato vine, exists.