Friday, May 9, 2014

CL on alert for rice black bug

Rice black bug.  Photo by Bulacan PAO

MALOLOS CITY—Ever heard of herding ducks in the rice field soon after crop gets established?

Well, that’s one of the solutions offered by the experts in further controlling possible rice black bug infestation in Central Luzon where ricelands are also being threatened by irrigation shortage due to possible long dry spell.

Aside from the above, experts also suggested intensive implementation of integrated pest management  (IPM), spraying of pathogenic microorganism called metarhizium, and raising water level on ricelands.

Based on records from the Central Luzon office of the Department of Agriculture (DA), rice black bug (Scotinophara coarctata) infestation has affected  2,820 hectares of farmlands in the region.

They said it remains under control but local agriculturist in Bulacan are not taking it easy noting that hot temperatures leads rice black bug to further burrow itself on rice stems.

Citing experts’ explanation,Gloria Carillo, head of the Bulacan Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) said that the bug used to suck sap on the rice stem and lay eggs on it.

“It’s an invasive pest species that attacks all growth stages of the rice plant,” she said in describing the bug.

At present, Carillo said that there have been sightings of the bug in the towns of Bulakan, San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael and Baliwag, all in the province of Bulacan.

Other provinces in Central Luzon showed greater impacts of infestation caused by the bug.

Records from the DA-III office showed that a total of 570 hectares of ricelands in the province of  Aurora were affected by the bug.

Also in Nueva Ecija (550 has), Pampanga (220 has), and Tarlac with 1,500 hectares.

Records also showed impacts on rice yields in affected areas ranged from 3-5 percent in Nueva Ecija, 10-20 percent in Tarlac, 20 percent in Aurora, and 20 to 40 percent in Pampanga.

Felicito Espiritu, head of the DA-III information office said that while affected areas in the region climbed over 2,000 hectares, the infestation remained under control.

Trapping rice black bug in Bulakan town. Photo by Bulacan PAO

He said that local farmers has been trained to conduct regular monitoring through surveillance using light trapping equipment.

He explained that light trapping equipment which utilizes bright lights attracts black bugs.

Records showed that rice black bug infestation in the country is not new.

It is first monitored in 1979 in Southern Palawan where an outbreak was recorded in 1982 covering 4,500 hectares.

In the years that followed, incidents were recorded in 1996 in Zamboanga City damaging about 2,000 hectares; in 1995 it became a serious pest in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); and in 1996, it moved to the provinces of Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.

In 1998, rice black bug infestations were recorded in Davao Del Sur and Negros Occidental; then in Siquijor and Bohol provinces the following year.

From the year 2000 onwards, infestations were further recorded northwards.

Records showed that in 2000, infestation was recorded in Caraga Region, followed by Leyte in 2001; Samar in 2003; Sorsogon in 2005;  and Catanduanes, Albay and Camarines Sur provinces in the Bicol region in 2006.

By 2007, first infestation was recorded in the province of Aurora, then in Isabela and Laguna the following year; and in other parts of Luzon in 2010.   Dino Balabo