Taiwan's fall armyworm infestation set to spread

Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine stepping up efforts to contain invasive species

File photo: BAPHIQ clearing out infested crops

File photo: BAPHIQ clearing out infested crops (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) announced this week that there have been 199 cases of the fall armyworm discovered across the island, while warning that the potential for the armyworm infestation to spread further is very high.

Recognizing the fall armyworm invasion an active threat to the nation’s agricultural output, the Bureau is stepping up its efforts and calling on the public for assistance to root out the pests.

As of July 9, the caterpillars have only been reported among corn crops. However the BAPHIQ has designated 353 other crop varieties as at risk from the invasive species.

Of the 199 cases reported, which compromised 50 hectares of corn in total, 81 cases have been destroyed by fire, while 116 cases have been controlled by use of pesticides. Liberty Times reports that 20 hectares have been destroyed by Bureau operations, and 30 hectares targeted with chemical control measures. https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/life/breakingnews/2848273

Based on the geographic range of crops affected by the invasive species, BAPHIQ officials estimate that only about 60 percent of the incoming pests have been isolated in contained areas. This means that the Bureau expects over 30 percent of the fall armyworms in Taiwan will have the opportunity to mate, and disperse further across the island.

To combat the anticipated spread of the disease, agricultural experts and Bureau official are working with farmers in the danger areas to increase prevention and control of the invasion. The BAPHIQ is asking the public to immediately inform government offices in they discover any evidence of the fall armyworm anywhere in Taiwan.

The BAPHIQ can be reached through the phone number 0800-039-131, or via the official Line or Facebook accounts (防檢局). See the photo below for reference in identifying the fall armyworm.

(Photos from Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan)

(Photo from Miaoli Agricultural Office)

(Photo from Miaoli Agricultural Office)