A large part of Portland is covered in bugs at the moment, due to a government mandated biological control measure to limit the spread of an invasive plant species.
Lythrum salicaria, commonly known as the purple loosestrife is a highly invasive weed that prevents other plants from developing properly.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture has implemented a biological control method to prevent the weed from spreading, in order to replace the use of herbicides. This method involved introducing an insect species that naturally feeds on the purple loosestrife plant into the environment, so that the weed be eliminated in a perfectly natural way.
Thus, the authorities have been maintaining a population of Galerucella calmariensis, commonly known as the Galerucella leaf beetle, in the purple loosestrife contaminated area, that has been keeping the weed’s spread at bay in Oregon for the last 23 years.
Due to its success all across the state, the authorities have introduces the Galerucella leaf beetle method to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, a natural park located very close to Portland, back in 2013 and there haven’t been any incidents until recently.
It seems that this summer has proven to be extremely prolific for the Galerucella leaf beetle, because the high temperatures have enabled its populations in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to thrive; so much so that the small beetles have decided to extend their territory in search of new food sources and they have taken over Portland.
Obviously, the locals are extremely unhappy about this recent leaf beetle issue, because they say it is utterly disgusting to be outside in certain parts of the city, because the multitude of little critters get into their eyes, mouths and years. Furthermore, if they are not careful enough to keep all of their doors and windows closed, the unwelcome guests even let themselves inside their homes.
“I mean, they’re just all over you. It’s crazy, I’ve never seen this here.” said Larry Watland, a man who was biking near Sellwood Riverfront Park, as reported by KPTV.
The authorities from Oregon Department of Agriculture have announced that the small critters are expected to die naturally in the next few days and that additional methods for fighting them off are not necessary in these conditions.
Image Source: staticflickr