Aphalara itadori, an insect native to Japan that only eats the sap from Japanese knotweed, were released in Swansea around two years ago in an experiment to try to remove Japanese knotweed. The Centre of Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI) is currently half way through their study and has reported that the insect is coping well in the UK.
This new form of Japanese knotweed treatment has received a lot of coverage of the past two years from major news networks as the new treatment method could potentially control Japanese knotweed across the country.
How the imported insects control Japanese knotweed
The imported insects, aphalara itadori, control Japanese knotweed by sucking out the sap from the stem which causes the invasive weed to dry out. The insect does not feed on anything else other than Japanese knotweed and is therefore entirely dependent on the weed.
However, there is a new law in Scotland that states that it is now illegal to introduce a non-native species so even if the experiment is a success it might not be allowed to happen north of the border.
Experts talk about Japanese knotweed control methods
Dr Richard Shaw who is the project leader said that it was too early to say if the experiment had been a success. He said that, "we can confirm there have been no negative or unpredictable outcomes. We have evidence that the psyllids [insects] we have been releasing have been able to survive through the winter and breed the following spring, but this year's weather has been far from beneficial."
"In its native range it is also dependent on the host plant but also has predators and parasites, some of which will be specialists and not present here."
The Rotter speaks about Japanese knotweed eating insects
Les Meikle, a.k.a. the Rotter from Wise Property Care said "I think that this new experiment is a fantastic idea and I'm glad to see that it is going well so far. The local council in Swansea has spent over £200,000 on controlling Japanese knotweed over the past 10 years so anything that could help to reduce the cost is beneficial."
Contact a Japanese knotweed specialist
If you suspect that there is Japanese knotweed on your property then contact Wise Knotweed Solutions today on 0808 231 9218 or find your local branch.
Alternatively you can email the team online using our contact form.