Negros Occidental gov creates task force to stop spread of dangerous pest
BACOLOD CITY –– Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson has created a task force to prevent the spread of fall armyworms (FAW) and minimize their damage to crops.
Lacson said they have received reports of FAW in a corn experiment station of the Bureau of Plant Industry in Barangay La Granja, La Carlota City, and in La Castellana town.
FAW (Spodoptera frugiperda), a new species from the United States, is a dangerous transboundary pest that feeds on corn, sorghum, rice, millet, sugarcane, cotton, potatoes, and other feed crops.
The armyworms turn into moths and could fly long distances, hatching 200 eggs at a time, Lacson said.
Representatives of the Bureau of Plant and Industry arrived on Monday to help Negros Occidental fight the FAW by using insecticides.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said the FAW needs to be exterminated because they could wipe out Negros Occidental’s corn industry.
“Once the FAWs turn into moths, they can fly within a 100-kilometer radius and with their prolific egg-laying they could spread fast if not eliminated immediately,” he said.
Bureau of Plant and Industry representatives are still assessing the damage caused by the FAW in areas already hit by the pest.
Lacson is chairman of the Task Force on Fall Armyworms with Board Member Andrew Montelibano as co-chairperson and Masculino as action officer./lzb
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