The rice Grain Bug is reportedly infesting rice areas in Pontevedra and La Carlota City in Negros Occidental, Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said.
In an interview Thursday, Masculino said that the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist has received reports from these areas but they are still waiting for the final report to be submitted to them.
Once the report is validated, they will immediately distribute Metarhizium anisopliae, a bio-controlling fungus, to the rice farmers to stop the infestation, Masculino said.
He said the pests are infesting the rice in its milking stage.
OPA is now working on populating Metarhizium in both laboratories in Panaad in Bacolod City and in Tabunan in Bago City, Masculino added.
He also urged the farmers to enroll in the Negros First Universal Crop Insurance Program to help them recover, in case infestation occurs in their farms.
The need for vigilance and clean surroundings was also stressed to the farmers, he said, and that if they identify the pest occurrence in their rice areas, they could report it to their local agriculturists and get assistance.
In the second half of 2017, cases of RGB infestation in south Negros were reported and damage was placed at P8.4 million.
The RGB looks like a black ant that feeds on rice fruit and damages it by sucking the contents of developing grains in the milking stage, causing moisture loss and discoloration.
The pest has a dirty-brown color and is half the size of the Rice Black Bug, with bigger front legs that allow them to crawl.
Masculino also said that, initially, RGB was commonly found in leguminous plants but eventually fed on rice, especially in its ripening and harvesting stage. *MLG
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