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Taiwan: Quarantine bureau on guard against fall armyworm

Taiwan’s quarantine bureau is on alert against the fall armyworm, an invasive insect that devastates crops.

Since reaching Asia in 2018, the fall armyworm has spread through southern and southwestern China.

Should the insects make it across the Taiwan Strait, the consequences for Taiwan’s agriculture could be serious. That’s because the fall armyworm damages 353 types of plants, among them important crops like corn, rice, and cotton.

There is a chance the insects could arrive by natural means. In its mature moth form, the worm migrates quickly. Shifting weather patterns mean the risk of them flying across the strait will be especially high after mid-June.

However, accidental introduction by humans is also possible, and the quarantine bureau is not taking chances. The bureau says it is stepping up inspections to keep the fall armyworm out.