- Associated Press - Thursday, July 6, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Agriculture experts in Florida are enlisting the state’s residents in a war against an invasive species, and are recruiting people to something called the “air potato patrol.”

A news release sent Thursday by the University of Florida and the Florida Department of Agriculture says experts are starting a citizen science project that trains residents to identify and report air potato vines in Florida and the Southeast.

Air potato plants grow aggressively and can quickly overtake and kill other vegetation. The plant is found in 60 of the 67 counties in Florida, as well as in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

Researchers also want to know if folks see air potato leaf beetles, which eat the plants and reduce the scourge.

Videos and information on how to participate: www.airpotatobeetle.com.

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