China breeding parasites to destructive American White Moths

A tiny Chinese parasite is being bred by the millions in the hope it will decimate an infestation of the American White Moth that is eating a swath through forests and crops across China.

The moth, which was first detected in Liaoning Province in 1979 can denude a tree, and consume vegetables and crops in days, experts said.

The invading alien moth is threatening forests and crops in 116 counties of six provinces and municipalities in China including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Liaoning provinces, according to the State Forestry Administration.

Entomologists use the cocoons of silkworms to be bred the parasitic insect and then hang the infested silkworm cocoons in areas that are infested with the American Moth. About 130,000 silkworm cocoons infested with the parasite were put in the 260-hectare forest hit by the North American pests, said Li Chunqing, an engineer with the Forestry Bureau of Dongying in Shandong Province.

The parasites, known as "chouionia cunea Yang," attach themselves to the caterpillar of the North American White moth and then destroy the pupa in the cocoon by feeding on it.

In Beijing and Tianjin has released hundreds of millions of the parasites, which are barely the size of a sharpened pencil lead. Results in those cities have not been very good as biologists report the population of the North American Moth continues to rise.

Forestry engineer, Li, says an increase in the population of the parasitic insect, which will not harm the environment, can curb the increasing population of the moth.

Source: Xinhua



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