Fri, Apr 26, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Taichung seeing stink bug infestation

By Ou Su-mei  /  Staff reporter

Lychee stink bugs crawl over a tree leaf in Taichung’s Sintian area on Tuesday.

Photo: Ou Su-mei, Taipei Times

Large numbers of lychee stink bugs, or Tessaratoma papillosa, have been found along Taichung’s Sintian Hiking Trail (新田步道) in Tanzih District (潭子) and Dakeng Hiking Trail (大坑步道) in Beitun District (北屯).

Democratic Progressive Party Taichung City Councilor Hsiao Lung-tse (蕭隆澤) urged the city government to come up with a solution to the problem, as residents could be harmed by the bugs crawling on railings.

Lychee stink bugs secrete a toxic bodily fluid that irritates human skin and eyes.

Dakeng Hiking Trail had an infestation of the bugs last year, Taichung Scenic Area Administration Office Director Liao Wei-chih (廖偉志) said, adding that the city government has asked sanitary workers to get rid of the bugs on the railings twice per day.

About 20,000 Anastatus japonicus, a parasitic wasp and the natural enemy of the lychee stink bug, were released on the trail this year, and warning signs were erected where more bugs have been found, he said.

The lychee stink bug is an agricultural pest that affects lychee and longan production.

Resident Liao Tung-fu (廖東福) said that the bugs were seen at the No. 9 and No. 10 Dakeng hiking trails, and Sintian Hiking Trail.

A farmer surnamed Hsiao (蕭) who lives in the Sintian area said that the problem has been getting worse in the past couple of years, as the bugs have been found not only on lychee and longan trees, but also on other indigenous trees, such as the Chinese soap berry, the flame goldrain and the China berry tree.

They sometimes even lay eggs on clothing drying outside, Hsiao added.

A family member of Hsiao said that she has found two or three piles of eggs on their clothes in one day, and they would sometimes even hatch there.

She would gather the eggs into plastic bags and burn them, and spray pesticide on the trees, she added.

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