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Imported pests killing local plant, invading park

Agave Snout Weevil. (Google Image)

Senior Plant Health Consultant in the UK, Dr Christopher Malumphy has said some of the territory’s traditional plant species are under threat of becoming extinct.

This is because of invasive pests imported in the British Virgin Islands.

Agave Snout Weevil

According to Dr Malumphy, the Agave Snout Weevil has killed the Caribbean century plant, which grows in the BVI.

“This plant is almost clearly disappeared in many areas in the BVI because of this beetle that has been accidentally introduced here,” said Dr Malumphy.

He said the Agave Snout Weevil has been in the territory at least 10 years.

He explained that an invasive pest introduced to a new area can exist there for about a decade before it reaches a population that becomes a threat to the local ecosystem.

Tradition destroyed

Meanwhile, the expert mentioned that the century plant was part of the BVI’s yuletide tradition where it was spray-painted and decorated.

But, because of the invasion, that tradition has now been lost.

“This is why it is so important to preserve and protect the natural environment for everybody’s enjoyment and the BVI,” he said.

Red Stinging Ants 

Dr Malumphy also mentioned another pest that was accidentally brought into the country – the Red Stinging Ants.

He said that insect is often found at the Queen Elizabeth II Park in Road Town and was probably brought into the territory with plants.

He said persons might begin to shun the park because of these ants.

“So, it’s vitally important to protect the natural environment because it is important economically since the tourism sector sells themselves as Nature’s Little Secrets,” he reasoned.

The Red Stinging Ant. (Google image)

Dr Malumphy urged persons to come on board to reduce the risks of any invasive pests to the territory and reiterated the call for persons to be careful when sourcing plants.

He along with Dr Jill Key of the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat who were in the territory last week plan on tackling the issue on a wider scale.

“These pests; we want to identify and stop them from coming to the BVI. It is always much more effective and cost-effective to keep the pests out in the first place,” he told BVI News.

Dr Malumphy (left) and Dr Key.

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12 Comments

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  1. watcher says:

    These non belonger insects coming here taking the jobs of native insects. Make them go through the immigration process and make them pay huge work permit fees. Treat them like second class insects.

  2. Ichabod says:

    Boy , the worse are the two legged imported pests. They kill everything. The culture the way of life and they kill locals too. They even broadcast to the world that the BVI is the worse host tha they have attached but given every opportunity to depart they refuse. A solution for the elimination of pests makes life and living pleasurable.

    • Nickname says:

      They kill “everything” you say? What about the native species that are running the country into the ground, while filling their pockets with money?

      • Ichabod says:

        Agreed ! What about them. Are they a figment of your imagination or a revelation of your inner self. What are their names rank and place of address. Why are you holding on to the evidence that would put them away. You must also be withholding the much needed info that would solve the bevy of murders that are left unsolved. I would have to characterise your actions as far worse than any insect, unless of course, you respond with facts and evidence then go do some self evaluation of your “badinded” good for not much else self. Thanks for reading.

  3. Stupes says:

    BVI imports PESTS and export MONEY

  4. Don says:

    Imagine this article is about importation of invasive insects and folks have to exaggerate about expatriates.

    This is why it’s important to refrain from sneaking plant/plant material into the territory. Just because you want to have pretty flowers you saw off island. Ultimately it’s a threat to our flora/fauna and the natural diversity of the BVI.

  5. Amy says:

    It’s not just the plants that people sneak in— in both the BVI and the USVI there’s constant importation of thousands of plants from Florida. There are numerous pests in every shipment .

    • Florida says:

      Many of those plants shipped from Florida comes from South America, I’ve visited Costa Roca and saw containers and containers of plant being shipping to Florida. Florida is only a shipping point

  6. See yah says:

    And yet ayo fight down the ‘milky’ melanin ppl and their nationality (UK) – yet here they are trying to educate and bring awareness to a vital issue. I really miss seeeing the centruury plant especially around the holiday season. Hope they get the local help to deal with this.

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