March 29, 2006

Moth threatens to turn China’s “Green Olympics” brown

BEIJING (Reuters) - Sexually attracting agents, insecticide
lamps and bees are being used to combat a ravenous plant-eating
moth which threatens to turn Beijing's "Green Olympics" brown,
China's forestry officials have said.

The American White Moth, native to North American forests,
threatened thousands of hectares of trees planted around
Beijing as part of the campaign to host an environmentally
friendly Games in 2008, they said.

Wu Jian, chief engineer of the forestry department, told
China's state news agency Xinhua that efforts to present a
green city to the world could be in vain if the pest was not
effectively controlled.

The moth is a prolific breeder that can lay up to 3,000
eggs at a time, with larvae capable of stripping a healthy tree
of foliage in a matter of days.

The State Forestry Administration said on Wednesday it had
mobilized environmental defense forces across the region to
counter the threat to forests in northern China.

Xinhua did not say what sexually attracting agents were
being used or how they helped eliminate the moths.

In addition to the planting of trees, environmental
initiatives for the 2008 Games include pest elimination
campaigns targeting rats, fleas and lice at gymnasiums and
athletes' villages.