Meeting will address fireweed eradication

A state Department of Agriculture informational meeting on plans for the release of a moth to combat fireweed, a plant toxic to most livestock, will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani.

The fireweed, also known as Madagascan Ragwort, has daisylike flowers. The plant can kill cattle and horses and can be fatal to sheep and goats.

Fireweed infestations are so extensive on Maui and the Big Island that other control methods are cost-prohibitive and impractical, the news release said.

The Agriculture Department has extensively studied a natural predator, the Madagascan fireweed moth, for more than 13 years. After reviews at state and federal levels, final approval for release was granted in December.

The moths already have been released on the Big Island.

The planned release on Maui will be a collaborative effort among island ranchers, the University of Hawaii and the Agriculture Department.

For more information, go to the website blog/2013-news-releases/biocontrol-moth-released-to-fight-invasive-fireweed/.