Seminole Co. releases red beetles to devour invasive weed



SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A special kind of beetle started invading part of Seminole County, but the city says it's a good thing.

Casselberry was the first central Florida city where the red beetle has been released to help devour some invasive fauna that's been bugging trees for years.

The city released 1,600 red beetles into four parks. Officials said the beetles eat through the leaves of the invasion air potato vine.

The potato vine has killed a countless number of trees over the years, officials said.

It has cost the city millions of dollars to replace those trees.

The beetles will stunt the growth of the vines, but officials hope they chew the plant out of existence.

"The air potato vines will go ahead and grow up trees and essentially choke off the air supply of the tree," commissioner Anthony Aramendia said.

The State Department of Agriculture has been breeding the bugs in Gainsville for the past four years to combat the invasive plant.

The beetles are being deployed across the state.

Since the beetles were released 24 hours ago, they've already eaten through a lot of air potato vines.

The city hopes they have the appetite to get the job done, which could take a year.

The city didn't have to pay for the beetles and said it's not a foolproof solution.

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