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Taichung province

Taiwan: Agriculture Bureau buys up stink bug larvae to protect lychees & longans

Last week the Taichung Agriculture Bureau - in an effort to ward off invading lychee stink bugs - announced an initiative to buy their larvae for NT$2 ($ 0.07) each, starting March 1.

The lychee stink bug, officially known as Tessaratoma papillosa, is an agricultural pest with a taste for fruit trees, like lychee and longan trees. It is common to south Asia. The bug interrupts a tree's life cycle and causes its fruit to sour and decay.

The presence of these pests has significantly increased over the last two years and is harming the lychee and longan crop around Taiwan, according to the Bureau. The Bureau decided that the most environmentally friendly way to get rid of the bugs is to offer a buy-back program for the stinkbug eggs, fixing the problem at its root. explains how, once collected, the Bureau will release the larvae fields near the infested areas along with a natural predator, a larvae eating wasp called Anastatus japonicas. Then, the wasps will eat the larvae before they mature into threatening insects and communities of the wasp will then be established closer to areas suffering from infestation to more permanently keep the stink bug population at bay.

The Bureau issued a reminder that the stink bug will not attack humans. However, they may secrete a malodorous liquid when frightened. If the liquid comes in contact with human skin a strong burning sensation may occur and if the liquid enters the eyes it could even result in a loss of sight.

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