Government consults on louse introduction

Horticulture, garden and greenhouse enthusiasts are being asked for their opinion on whether to implement measures to control Japanese knotweed in the UK.

The species – also known as Fallopia japonica – is a very aggressive plant that can quickly suffocate other species, the Guardian reported.

Experts have reported some knotweed specimens whose rhizomes stretch for miles, it explained.

But the government feels it may have an answer to the problem – in the shape of bugs called Aphalara itadori.

The alien species – a type of louse – could help deal with knotweed by feasting on its sap.

According to Defra, the problem plant cost around £1.56 billion in removal fees in 2003 alone.

Despite the possible solution, there is concern that introducing the bugs to UK could upset the eco system in the country.

CABI research found the likelihood of the insects eating other plants is low, but the consultation will continue until October this year.