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Farmers, ranchers receive moths, larvae for fireweed

March 28, 2013
The Maui Weekly

The Maui News - Maui farmers and ranchers recently converged on Haleakala Ranch, where they received more than 2,500 Madagascan fireweed moths and larvae that they hope will rid their pastures of a plant toxic to their animals.

It marked the first of hopefully many mass organized distributions by the state Department of Agriculture and releases by the farmers and ranchers on the Valley Isle.

Fireweed has infested more than 400,000 acres of rangeland in the state, with the majority of the plant found on the two islands. The non-native plant has caused difficulties for ranchers due to its toxicity, which can poison livestock.

After studying the insect and its possible effects on Hawai'i's ecosystem for 13 years, the bio-control measure was approved for use by the state in December.



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