Bug bombs save American plants

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 5:44 PM EST
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) -Plants are something few Americans think about daily. Yet, they provide us with food, water, oxygen, and more. And like animals, plants face predators, which is why WVU professor Yong-Lak Park has created a plan to save American plants.

“Invasive species compete with native plants, so generally, invasive species win over. So, without management our native flora, will be gone,” said Yong-Lak Park, professor of entomology at West Virginia University.

Drones are the first layer of the project as they will locate harmful foreign plants, such as mile-a-minute weed and Japanese knotweed. After detection, simple science and nature take its course.

“It’s called the bug bomb. So we put the bugs inside the ball, and then we drop to the invasive plant batches. So, they come out and eat the invasive plants and then kill the invasive plants,” said Park.

The project has received a $200,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Nevertheless, there are holds-ups. The Federal Aviation Administration and USDA APHIS must change some of their regulations.

“It limits our ability to use for homeowners and growers, so I hope in the future the policy is set and the rules. Are available or allow us to use this kind of technology,” said park.

Professor Park would tell WDTV that it would take three years for the project to be released to the public, and he already has gotten great feedback from growers and homeowners who want to use his bug bombs.