About 20 years ago a container of ornamental bromeliads were shipped to Florida from Central America. Inside these bromeliads were weevils that escaped into the forests of Florida and now have spread throughout the southern half of the state. There are hundreds of species of bromeliads in Central America. In Florida, there are only sixteen bromeliad species and twelve of them are endangered by the weevil. Now, in many places around the state, once lush communities of bromeliads have been wiped out.
Biological control is the use of a specialized organism to control a pest organism. A group of scientists led by Dr. Howard Frank from the University of Florida and was here in Belize, searching for a parasite of the bromeliad weevil. Their goal is to develop a new biological control to reduce the impact of bromeliad weevils and to protect Florida’s bromeliads.
After a long day of weevil hunting, all four of them looked forward to coming back to Hamanasi to enjoy the rest of the evening kicking back and discussing bugs!
Read more about bromeliads and the weevils that feed upon them at: