Invasive, exotic, water-sucking trees like the melaleuca have long threatened the Everglades as they swallowed up precious marshes, mangrove forests, and tree islands.
But the U.S. Agricultural Research Service thinks it now has a solution — let loose the beetles.
Their idea is to let mass swarms of hungry “bio-control agents” like the melaleuca snout beetle gobble up the leaves of the invasive plants, according to the Miami Herald. The federal scientists will rear tens of thousands of the snout beetles and other useful insects over the next few years.
The lab has already released dozens of other bugs, including a moth with an insatiable appetite for the invasive climbing fern. Unfortunately, that bug had trouble surviving the cold.
The scientists have higher hopes for the snout beetle and its ability to gobble up the leaves of the disastrous melaleuca trees (pictured below).