Pests in the heart of Switzerland

Red-legged shieldbug annihilates cherry harvest

Up until now, there wasn't really any problem in the Central Plateau: The pest was previously known, especially in Valais. There, the red-legged shieldbug has caused damage to apricots and pears. Now there are problems in the Aargau as well. Daniel Schnegg from Liebegg Agricultural Center is surprised: "I'm scared because I've never seen them in the cherries, above all we've never had an occurence in the trees."

Bauer lost large parts of the harvest: it hit a farmer in Leutwil, above Lake Hallwil, particularly hard. The bug completely devoured the cherries on 150 of his trees; a third of his harvest, as the farmer told the Wynentaler Blatt.

Other similar cases in the region: The farmer above Lake Hallwil could not be the only one. At the agricultural center, others have reported  the same suspicion. There could also be a case in the canton of Solothurn, according to research by SRF. With this farmer there is the suspicion that the bugs could have eaten as much as half of his harvest.

However, it is not yet clear whether it is really the red-legged shieldbug or the brown marmorated stink bug. The latter has had growers worried for quite some time, as it has already caused great damage abroad in recent years.

Experts are looking for a solution: On Wednesday morning, specialists from the canton of Aargau and the research institute Agroscope will meet in the affected cherry orchards in Leutwil. Daniel Schnegg is confident that a solution will be found: "So far, we have been able to solve every problem."

Source: SRF1, Regionaljournal Aargau Solothurn

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