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Project Type
UTRC Research Initiative
Project Dates
11/05/2018 - 10/31/2021
Project Status

Swallow-worts (Vincetoxicum spp.) are aggressive invasive plants imperiling the biological diversity and impacting the economy of New York. These plants threaten rare and endangered species, alter ecosystem function, interfere with commodities, and can dominate state highway rights-of-way. Beyond local scales, mechanical and chemically based control approaches are largely ineffective, impractical, and expensive for swallow-worts. Thus, biological control represents the only cost-effective approach available for permanently reducing the impact of this well-established invasive species on a landscape scale. In addition, well-planned biological control has little or no impact on native species and is appropriate for even the most environmentally and conservation sensitive areas. Several candidate biological control agents were identified from the native ranges of black swallow-wort (BSW) and pale swallow-wort (PSW). Of those identified, the moth Hypena opulenta was thought to be the most promising and was subjected to an extensive battery of host-range tests to ensure safety of native plant species and was granted approval by the US government and NY State for field release in 2017.