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Beijing '08 under threat by ... moths?

Posted: Thursday March 30, 2006 11:08AM; Updated: Thursday March 30, 2006 11:08AM
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BEIJING, March 30 (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.

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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 defence 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.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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