Peste! Rice black bugs hit Northern Iloilo

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Bad news for farmers in Northern Iloilo: Rice black bugs have infested parts of Sara, San Dionisio, Ajuy, and Concepcion towns, the Provincial Agriculture Office said.

Assistant provincial agriculturist Elias Sandig said rice black bugs were also sighted in Banate town, which is at risk of possible damage if these are not controlled.

Sandig noted that except for Banate, there is no standing rice crop in the northern Iloilo areas. But he added these bugs can travel from one town to another (

He advised neighboring towns to be vigilant and immediately report any sighting of the said pests.

The rice black bugs suck through the stems of rice crops, causing them to wither and die.

On the other hand, Sandig said the black bug infestation in the four towns is “normal” as this is the season of black bugs.

Sandig said the increase in their population may be due to the decreasing number of their predators stemming from the use of harmful chemicals in farming.

For its part, the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas has also provided a biological control agent to target the rice black bugs.

The first infestation of rice black bugs was reported in Iloilo in 2010. In 2014, another species of rice black bugs was also monitored in the province.