From: Reuters
Published May 23, 2006 12:00 AM

Beijing Wages War Against Termites, Hungry Moths

BEIJING — China's capital is under attack from twin plagues of termites and moths, newspapers reported on Monday, prompting fears for the city's antiquities and concerns that Beijing's "Green Olympics" could be turned brown.

Workers renovating Beijing's 700 year-old Forbidden City for the 2008 Olympics discovered termites burrowing through the wooden structure, the China Daily said.

"High-tech devices" detecting and infecting the bugs with a "special powder" had been employed to control the outbreak, the paper said.

The wars against termites and moths are just two of the pest control initiatives Beijing has launched ahead of the Olympics.

Other campaigns have included targeting rats, fleas and lice at gymnasiums and athletes' villages.

The American White Moth, a ravenous plant-eater native to North American forests, was found in Beijing's Temple of Heaven park, the Beijing News said, weeks after forestry officials reported a plague in Beijing's surrounding hinterlands.

"If the moths aren't controlled quickly, they could even threaten Beijing's Olympics," the Beijing News quoted Wu Jian, a forestry official, as saying.

A single moth can spawn 30 million to 200 million descendants in a year, the Beijing News said, with larvae capable of stripping a healthy tree of foliage in a matter of days.

The crisis has prompted environment officials to wage a large-scale elimination campaign to save the "Green Olympics" -- a key slogan promoting the capital as an environmentally sound city.

Salvation may come in the form of a billion-strong army of larvae-eating bees, the moth's natural predator, the paper said.

Source: Reuters

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