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Bali Plagued by Caterpillars

Bali's Crops and Fruit Trees Under Threat from Massive Infestation of Caterpillars.

(4/16/2011) A growing plague of caterpillars is threatening to assume Biblical proportions as it spreads across the Indonesian archipelago, destroying valuable fruit and trees in its wake.

Three distinct varieties of insidious caterpillars have been identified in the spreading crisis two of which attach and kill valuable Mango trees. The caterpillars, which cause skin irritations in contact with humans, has now been documented in six of Bali's nine regencies.

Over 70 plant and pestilence experts are now investigating the caterpillars in Bali and how best to halt their spread which has already reached Denpasar, Buleleng, Gianyar, Jembrana, Karangasem and Klungkung.

The rapid spread of the caterpillars is blamed by experts on the headlights of automobiles where the moths who lay the eggs of the pestilence take refuge, hitching a ride to their next area of infestation.

Scientists at Bali's Udayana University are busily formulating scientific tactics to eradicate the caterpillars.

But, while some seek the perfect insecticide to destroy the caterpillars, officials in some areas of Bali are urging their citizens to gather the furry insects and eat them.

Some media reports blame the sudden explosion of the caterpillars on the diminishing population of birds that once controlled the pest.