MOUNT DORA – The Lake County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) is inviting volunteers to help release beetles at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, July 11 at Palm Island Park, 411 S. Tremain St., Mount Dora to help rid the environment of the invasive air potato.
Residents, including children, are asked to assist in releasing the air potato leaf beetles, which target only the air potato vine. Invasive species such as the air potato, known for its large, heart-shaped leaves, engulf the canopies of trees and other native plants and over time can actually kill native plants.
“The air potato vine can outcompete and displace native plant species and can destroy wildlife habitat,” said Brooke Moffis, residential horticulture agent with the UF/IFAS Extension in Lake County. “The air potato leaf beetle release is so important to the Lake County environment because the beetles feed on both the leaves and the tubers of this invasive plant.”
No registration is necessary for the event. Participants are encouraged to wear gloves, sunscreen, hats and comfortable shoes and clothing. After the release, activities and games will be provided for children. For additional details on the beetle release, contact Brooke Moffis at Burnb48@ufl.edu or call 352-343-4101.
Formed in 2009, the mission of The Lake County CISMA is to establish a cooperative framework for agencies, private landowners and other land managers to address the threats of invasive species in Lake County. For more information, visit www.floridainvasives.org/lake/.