News & AnalysisBiocontrol

Loosing the Louse on Europe's Largest Invasive Pest

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Science  13 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6031, pp. 781
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6031.781

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Japanese knotweed can grow through solid concrete foundations, forcing contractors to abandon infested building sites. In the United Kingdom, damages and removal cost $288 million a year. Last week, the United Kingdom approved the widespread release of one of the plant's natural enemies, a plant louse, or psyllid, called Aphalara itadori. While there are dozens of biological controls already in use against insect pests, this is the first officially sanctioned release of one against a weed in the European Union.