Beetles help combat potato vines growing in Orlando

A different kind of 'beetlemania' is happening

ORLANDO, Fla. – Employees with the Orlando Parks Division welcomed Air Potato Beetles on Friday to do some work.

The critters will help fight against potato plant vines growing on trees around the city. 

"They can be anywhere. They can travel quickly and easily and they are called potato vines because they are tubular and look like a funky potato," Jody Buyas said.

Buyas is the natural resources manager for the City of Orlando and explained the beetles came from the University of Florida.

City Commissioner Tony Ortiz was also there for the release on Friday and said residents have been calling to complain about the vines.

"They explained to us what their concerns were and called our office," Ortiz said.

Buyas said the potato vine doesn't necessarily kill the trees, but it definitely robs them of nutrients and sunlight.

"They will reproduce their eggs, which in a couple of weeks, they will start chomping on the leaves and they'll just keep reproducing and reproducing," Buyas explained.

Residents with potato vines growing in their yard can order free beetles  from the University of Florida. For more information on how to order them, click here.

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