Aphalara Itadori Japanese Knotweed Killer Bug

Aphalara Itadori likes Japanese Knotweed, it likes it a lot, so much so that the UK government is using this little known bug from Japan to see if its introduction will help stop the spread of Japanese Knotweed in the UK.

The Japanese knotweed psyllid, AKA Aphalara itadori is a species of psyllid from Japan which feeds on Fallopia japonica Japanese knotweed (Japanese Knotweed).

This is some info from WIKI
Aphalara itadori Shinji, is a species of psyllid that specializes in feeding on Fallopia japonica (Japanese knotweed), as well as other Fallopia spp. / Polygonum cuspidatum, such as Fallopia sachalinensis / Polygonum sachalinense (Giant knotweed) and Fallopia x bohemica / Polygonum x bohemicum (Himalayan knotweed – the hybrid of giant and Japanese knotweed).

Knotweed species’ native home range is Asia. They were introduced to North America and Europe in the 1800s. Knotweed was carried from Asia to be used as an ornamental. Since these introductions knotweed species have spread throughout North America, Canada and Europe to establish themselves as a noxious weed.

Presently, 180 species of arthropod exist that exhibit a predatorial behavior to Fallopia spp.. Fallopia spp. are species of concern due to their aggressive nature and destruction they cause to natural environments. Specifically, knotweed species have been seen to disrupt riparian habitats and lead to the degradation of waterways they invade.

Currently, Aphalara itadori is the only arthropod that has been extensively studied and proven to possess qualities needed in an effective biological control agent for the control of invasive knotweed species. Which is why it has been approved for release in the European Union. A four-year study in England and Wales found that the insects limited the growth of knotweed and did not breed successfully on ninety nearby native species, including the related species rhubarb, although it wasn’t clear whether the insect colonies would be able to survive over the winter.

Click here for the WIKI page

The specific name comes from itadori (虎杖, イタドリ), the Japanese name for Japanese knotweed.[3]