Brazilian Peppertree is a well-known invasive species throughout Florida, and it’s one that requires a number of approaches to stop its spread. The UF/IFAS Extension Office launched a pilot program with Port St. Lucie Utility Systems at the McCarty Ranch Preserve in January to release their first biological control agent for Brazilian peppertree—the thrip. A Brazilian native, the thrip is a tiny black bug that feeds on the tree and slows its growth and reproduction. Extension agents and Utility Systems staff released 1,500 thrips on a small section of peppertrees at McCarty Ranch Preserve. The agents plan to check back in one month to see if the thrips are feasting like expected.
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