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Video: Small Beetle May Relieve Millions Of Pollen Allergy Sufferers
Small beetle may relieve millions of pollen allergy sufferers
The Ophraella communa beetle eats ragweed leaves and greatly reduces the amount of pollen that the plant throws into the air.
The Ophraella communa beetle can alleviate the suffering of pollen allergies in Europe. Scientists believe that thanks to it, the amount of ragweed pollen in the air can be significantly reduced. They talked about this in a study published in Nature Communications.
The beetle Ophraella communa, which previously lived only in North America, was first discovered in Europe in 2013: first in Switzerland, then in Italy. New research shows it can significantly reduce the number of ragweed pollen allergy sufferers.
Ambrosia (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is a common weed that entered Europe in the 19th century. It became widespread; it had practically no enemies on the continent. Ophraella communa, which arrived from the homeland of ragweed, changed the situation: he loves to eat the leaves of this plant.
Scientists used data from the European Pollen Monitoring Program from 2004 to 2012 and calculated the number of people who became susceptible to ragweed in Europe. According to these data, their number before the arrival of Ophraella communa on the continent was 13.5 million. Allergy to ragweed pollen cost about 7.4 billion euros per year.
After the emergence of a beetle eating ragweed, the amount of pollen of this weed in the air of Switzerland and northern Italy fell by an average of 10% (in some areas x - by 80%).
Scientists have calculated how effective such biological control of ragweed with a bug can be. According to them, the use of Ophraella communa could reduce the number of allergy sufferers in Europe by 2.3 million in five years.