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Arnold Arboretum experiments with Ukranian moths in battle against invasive pod plants

The Harvard Gazette reports the Arnold Arboretum has become part of a three-year study to see whether a moth species native to Ukraine can help battle the pod-producing black swallow wort, a particularly noxious and fast-growing weed that kills monarch butterflies - and nearby plants of other species.

Working with the University of Rhode Island, the arboretum this summer began releasing Hypena opulenta larvae, which seem to have a particular fondness for swallow wort leaves.

Hypenaopulenta was shown to be a safe and potentially effective biocontrol agent against swallow-wort by several seasons of field surveys and preliminary testing in Europe, the native habitat or both moth and weed, followed by studies at URI’s Biocontrol Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved quarantine facility.

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...because they have lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat!


Gypsy moths, Chinese ladybugs, Kudzu, crabgrass, Asian carp -- these initiatives usually cause more harm than good. Sometimes, LOTS more harm. The 'scientists' who keep doing this should just cut it out.

Just because you haven't learned anything new in the last 40 years doesn't mean the same is true for biologists and ecologists.

'Dur, people used to think the Earth was the center of the galaxy and how'd THAT turn out?' - perruptor I assume


Thanks for the personal attack. Always a very persuasive argument. Really demonstrates your reasoning skills and advanced education, especially when you get to the "dur" part with the made-up shit.

You made a specifically dumb comment under your user name. Should I have attacked, I don't know Stevil, for your comment?

Gypsy moths- introduced in the 1800s by a French hobbyist. Sure, that ties to modern science!

Chinese ladybugs- probably introduced by scientists in the 1960s, not actually harmful.

Kudzu - introduced in the 1930s

Crabgrass - introduced in the 1840s

Asian carp - introduced by farmers/fish farmers in the 1970s to clean ponds.

So two of the examples were introduced in our lifetime, only one by 'scientists' but yeah, I'm sure scientists haven't given any consideration to unforeseen consequences at all in spite of the fact that, for example, most people know the history of invasive species. Sure, there have been no further advances in the understanding of how ecosystems works in the last 50 years.

I'm sick of reading comments shitting on people who are trying to improve the world posted by gleeful no-nothings like you who only seek to claim they knew better than to try anything.

Whatever they did to knock down the winter moth infestations worked like gangbusters. Would love to get rid of the wort.


Takes it right off.

Would love to get rid of the wort.

Without wort there can be no beer.

Wasn’t this already covered by The Simpsons?

An episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000"?

Swallowed the spider to catch the fly ...

...she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die.

(seriously though, I have no doubt the scientists know exactly what they're doing here, as far as control)

That swallow-wort is pretty much unkillable.

Smithers, release the moths!


Hopefully some of the moths will make their way to Allston. I've been diligent about pulling it out this year after learning about it in an earlier article here. It's still hard to control, even when you know what you're looking for. They can hide both in plain sight, and deep in the bushes around the property line in my case (and in the day lilies, and my hops, and the rose bush out front, and...).

Unfortunately, a yard up the street is not maintained and got completely overrun, so eradication is out of the cards for my area. Just gotta manage it as best I can.


You could try asking your neighbor if they'd let you pull the weeds. Or at least pick the pods right now so it doesn't spread.

was ahead of its time.

I feel like I've seen this on the edge between hedges and sidewalk, including (especially) vine-like growth in fences. Does that seem likely?

You'd be blind. It's everywhere, and it loves to climb.