South African bug to control lantana weed at Bandipur park

South African bug to control lantana weed at Bandipur park

The Forest department has decided to experiment using 'Lantana Lace bug' to control the wild growth of lantana in the Bandipur National Park area.

Lantana (Lantana camara) has become one of the world's most invasive weeds, form impenetrable thickets covering large areas of valuable land, and it becomes impossible to control its growth.

The scientists at University of Agricultural Sciences in Bengaluru have taken up research to analyse the
pros and cons of using the bug to control the wild growth of lantana in the forest area.

Though the lantana looks attractive with various colours, it may be dangerous for the growth of other plants in the forest and also, hinders the movement of animals.

Moreover, it catches fire easily and spreads forest fire rapidly. As it is impossible to eradicate the lantana using human force, it has become inevitable for the Forest department to find alternative methods to control the lantana weed.

Lace bug

Speaking to DH, Bandipur Tiger Project Director Ambadi Madhav said that the lace bugs will feed on the leaves and flowers of the lantana resulting in the death of the plant. But the scientists of University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, are conducting experiments to check whether the bug will affect the other plants and vegetation in the forest, he said.

The bugs would be used extensively once the scientists give assurance that it will not affect the vegetation and methods to be taken in case these bugs become overpopulated and uncontrollable.

Tried in other countries

Lantana lace bug belongs to South Africa and has been experimented by several countries for controlling the weed. It is said that the Britishers had brought the lantana to India several years ago.

Though it is said that it will not affect other plants in the wild, the Forest department has decided to use the bugs only after being assured by the scientists, it is said.

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