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PIA Press Release

Zambo agriculturist renews anti-black bug drive

Zamboanga City (September 3) -- The city agriculturist office under Diosdado Palacat has initiated light trapping activities in rice fields and farm areas affected by the black bug infestation in a bid to eliminate the pests that have spread on to almost all rice fields in the city.

The weeklong light trapping activities yielded heaps of black bug, locally known as 'bau-bau negro', a rice insect pest that attacks lowland irrigated, rain fed and upland rice ecosystems.

Palacat personally supervised the conduct of preventive activities undertaken by the City Agriculturist Office's Crop Protection Team.

"We also declare war against black bugs", Palacat said as he lamented that the infestation has affected almost all rice fields in the city. Concentration of the weeklong light trapping strategy that culminated August 31 were the areas under the districts of Manicahan, Curuan, Culianan and Tumaga.

The light trapping was timed four days before and after the full moon, according to the City Agriculturist. He said after the full month, the Crop Protection Team will undertake massive spraying activities, another preventive strategy.

Palacat expressed apprehensions that if the infestation would not be totally controlled, the same would affect the crops considering that it is the planting season. "If we don't control this infestation, for sure our palay production will reduce".

Black bugs feed on the rice plant from seedling to maturity growth stages. Heavy infestation and "bugburn" is usually visible after heading or maturing.

The insect is common in rain fed and irrigated wetland environments during the vegetative stages of the rice crop. It prefers continuously cropped irrigated rice areas and poorly drained fields.

Black bug flight patterns are affected by the lunar cycle and on full moon nights, large numbers of adults swam to light sources. (PIA 9 ZC/CIO) [top]

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