There's an epic battle being waged in Middlefield.
On Thursday, students from Independent Day School released hundreds of weevils in hopes that the tiny insect will devour an invasive plant known as the Mile-a-minute vine.
The prickly vine is growing in the yard of Laurel Brook Road resident Ellen Waff, who first spotted the invader on her property a couple of years ago.
"This stuff has really taken off in three years. Once it gets going its impossible to remove," said Waff.
First reported in Greenwich in 1997, the weed native to Eastern Asia continues to spread througout the state, according to Logan Senack, Invasive Plant Coordinator at the University of Connecticut.
And it's easy to see why.
"It's an annual, and it's very fast growing. The higest reported growth rate is six inches in a day. It grows so densly that it will shade out other vegetation," Senack said.
Homeowners can identify the Mile-a-minute vine by its three main characteristics: triangular leaves, small barbs that help it spread and saucer-shaped leaves at the nodes of the plant.
See photos to be able to identify the Mile-a-minute vine
There are no natural predators of the Mile-a-minute vine in the United States, allowing it to grow unfettered. The weevils, also from Eastern Asia, are voracious however.
"They only can eat and breed on this plant," said Senack. "Over time, maybe 2-5 years, we'll see a gradual decrease in the Mile-a-mine and a gradual increase in the weevil."
While efforts to eliminate the invasive plant throughout Connecticut are being led by UConn and the Ag Experiment Station in New Haven, homeowners like Waff play the most important role.
"It really takes the people on the ground, who know their land to look out for these plants," said Senack.
A website has been created where homeowners can report the discovery of the invasive plant.
For more information on invasive species in Connecticut, residents are encouraged to attend an October 25 symposium hosted by the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG).