Mon, Jun 17, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Additional sightings of fall armyworms reported

Staff writer, with CNA

An excavator digs up a cornfield in Changhua County’s Homei Township yesterday after fall armyworms were reported in it.

Photo: Tang Shih-ming, Taipei Times

More reports of fall armyworm sightings have been received from across Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday as it stepped up efforts to eliminate the moth larvae.

As of 11am yesterday, 65 sightings had been reported nationwide since the first case was confirmed on Monday last week, up by 13 from a day earlier, officials from a council task force told a news conference.

The sightings, which were all of the larval form of the crop-destroying pest, have been reported in 17 of the nation’s 22 administrative areas, and the larvae were destroyed and buried in 28 of the cases, the officials said.

Only Keelung, Kaohsiung, Hsinchu City, Chiayi City and Nantou County have not reported sightings of fall armyworms, which authorities suspect rode air currents from China or Vietnam to Taiwan.

The officials said that measures have been taken to eliminate first-generation larvae before they can take root in corn and rice fields.

Five hundred pheromone traps have been deployed to attract mature fall armyworms and help authorities wipe them out, the officials said.

The larvae were first detected on a farm in Miaoli County — the first time they have been found in Taiwan — after a visitor reported seeing them to the local government.

If fall armyworms arrive in large numbers, sweetcorn and rice fields on Taiwan proper, and sorghum and wheat fields in Kinmen County would be particularly vulnerable, with potential annual losses of up to NT$3.5 billion (US$111 million), the council said.

Since 2016, fall armyworms have caused economic losses in the Americas, Africa and Asia, including 18 Chinese provinces.

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