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An update on past news

Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Weevils to control
ivy gourd growth
get mixed results

Question: Whatever happened to weevils the state released last year in Makiki Heights to control growth of the ivy gourd vine, a noxious weed that blankets everything from trees and utility poles to abandoned cars?

Answer: "It was released wherever ivy gourd is growing on Oahu," said Kenneth Teramoto, chief of the state Department of Agriculture's Biological Control Section.

There are two species of weevils involved. The weevil released Aug. 27 that "causes galls (tumors on plant tissue) to be formed on the ivy gourd plant is very successfully becoming established in various areas throughout the island," Teramoto said.

"The formation of galls ... stunts the growth of the plant," he explained. That weevil has been especially effective on the slopes of Punchbowl crater, where ivy gourd was first discovered here, he said.

The weevil species that was released Nov. 17, which feeds on foliage, is having a tougher time getting established for various reasons, he said.

In addition to the weevils, the state also released a moth in 1996 to battle ivy gourd.

"That one is doing extremely well," Teramoto said. "It is firmly established on Oahu and is causing a great deal of "die-back'" of the ivy gourd.

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