Sat, Jul 20, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Worms found on baseball field

CURVEBALL:Previously only found on cornfields, officials believe that these fall armyworms could be the offspring of the first generation to mature in Taiwan

By Chien Hui-ju and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Asia-Pacific International Baseball Stadium is pictured in Tainan on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine

Fall armyworms have been sighted at the Asia-Pacific International Baseball Training Center in Tainan, the first time the worms have been found outside of a cornfield.

They could be the offspring of the first generation of fall armyworm moths that matured in Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture said, adding that it was investigating the matter.

The Tainan City Government on Thursday notified the council’s fall armyworm reaction task force after the Tainan Department of Public Works reported what appeared to be worms of the order Lepidoptera, the task force said.

Samples collected by the Tainan Department of Agriculture and the council’s Tainan Area Agricultural Research and Extension Station were verified to be fall armyworms, it added.

Tobacco cutworm (Spodoptera litura) larvae and northern armyworms (Mythimna separata) were also discovered at the center, the task force said.

The only other field in the area was a 970m2 cornfield, on which no traces of fall armyworms were found, it said.

The first generation of moths to mature in Taiwan likely laid the eggs that hatched at the training center, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Feng Hai-tung (馮海東) said, adding that no fall armyworm moths were found in the area.

However, further investigation would be required to test the theory, he added.

As of Wednesday, 208 fall armyworm sightings had been reported in all municipalities except Chiayi County, 125 of which were of mature moths, bureau statistics showed.

Although the council has killed larvae or moths from 81 sightings and prescribed preventive measures for 124, the remaining three have yet to be handled, it said.

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