An insect and control measures of a “new” bug that is attacking rice in the Philippines are both unknown. Identifying it, limiting its range in the country and controlling it are all a major focus at the moment.

For the time being, the rice growers are just call it the “grain bug” until a more definitive name can be attached to it. The grain bug has the ability to destroy a field’s yield. Although it has not spread to more than an estimated 300 hectares so far, the concern is huge.

A reporter for the Malaya Business Insight quoted Jesus Binamira, Ph.D., who heads the country’s Department of Agriculture Integrated Pest Management program, as saying, “Our concern is that it’s new and nobody knows what it is.”

The Insight reporter described the grain damage as occurring from the flowering to the milking stage of the rice with the tiny bug stabbing a rice kernel with its “stylet and then sucks dry the milk-like substance inside.”

The grain dries up so that the plant heads are unfilled or the rice turns color and is unacceptable for harvest and milling. Growers say from a distance the rice looks good.

The Insight article also describes other insect pests and their range in the Philippines, which hurt production of the national staple crop.

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