Asked March 31, 2020, 2:43 PM EDT

I've read there is a weevil that is specific to Mile-a-Minute. Is this available in Maryland? Are there problems associated with the weevil ? I don't want to replace one problem with another, of course.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

The weevil Rhinocominus latipes has been studied and tested for biological control of Mile-a-Minute. We do not see commercial sources of this weevil available for homeowner use; indications from a 2015-revised USDA publication indicate that permits would be needed for transport of this insect from rearing labs across state lines. This weevil will help control Mile-a-Minute by feeding on leaves and stems, as well as reduce the quantity or likelihood of fruiting, but will not eliminate the entire plant. Since they are annual vines that only survive the winter as seeds, control should focus on eliminating existing plants in the yard before fruiting and then preventing germination of seedlings in following years.

In the absence of a good herbivore, the most environmentally-sound method of control is just physical removal of the plants. (Wearing gloves, certainly, since they are prickly.) Mulching exposed soil and minimizing soil disturbance can help reduce the likelihood that seeds will land in an area conducive to germination, even if they may be repeatedly brought in by passing birds.