End in Sight for Japanese Knotweed?

A team of scientists based at the Centre for Agricultural and Biosciences International (CABI), after extensive experimental trials, have finally found a solution to the super invasive Japanese Knotweed Fallopia japonica.

Japanese knotweed is one of several invasive non-native species, that are collectively estimated to cost the UK billions of pounds in eradication programmes. It is notorious for growing rapidly from tiny fragments, and has the ability to pierce and break-up concrete and tarmac.

The research team at CABI, have discovered that Aphalara itadori, a type of jumping plant lice, is an effective biological control agent against japanese knotweed. The louse could potentially save millions of pounds in chemicals and other means of removal that is otherwise necessary.

The leader of CABI’s research, Dick Shaw, said: “In the case of Japanese knotweed, doing nothing is not an option, so we are applying a century-old technique to a new target and are very hopeful of an effective and sustainable outcome.”

A. itadori has been through extensive trials, to make sure it has an exclusive preference to knotweed (over our native flora – 70 species having been tested). Only after having undergone a public consultation will the lice be ready for widespread use in the UK.

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