Black bugs ravaged some 30,000 hectares of rice fields in Magalang and Arayat in Pampanga.
Provincial agriculturist Crispin Guinto said the black bugs were noted in the two towns and steps have been taken to control the infestation and reduce the damage.
The black rice bugs, locally known as “itim na atangya,” are sap-feeding insects and believed to be one of the most difficult pests to manage.
The bugs attack rice stems and infest their bases and drain them of sap until the rice dies.
The bugs have a maximum height of 8-9 millimeter and a life span of 200 days. They are capable of producing 680 eggs during their life span.
Earlier, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) advised the farmers in Central Luzon to install super power lights with 2,000-3,000 watts near the infested areas to help avoid the outbreaks of bugs.
PhilRice said based on some studies undertaken, it was proven effective; that bugs are strongly attracted to a super power lights at night which eventually cause their demise.
Meanwhile, Guinto urged farmers to report immediately to the municipal agriculturists the presence of bugs in their plantation.
He said farmers can use Metarhizium anisopliae, a rice black bug-attacking microbial pathogen.
“This is a kind of fungus that grows naturally in soils and causes disease in various insects by acting as a parasitoid,” he said.