JIS News

In light of the presence of the Lime Swallowtail butterfly pest, which affects citrus plants, Chief Technical Director in the Plant Quarantine Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Don McGlashan, is urging all citrus farmers to immediately conduct regular inspections of their fields.
Mr. McGlashan told JIS News that the butterfly was normally found on plants that were flowering and as such, persons are advised to visit fields regularly to make the necessary checks.
“[If the pest is present] you will see the butterfly and larvae from time to time. If caterpillars are found, they should be removed from the plant by hand and then destroyed,” he emphasized.
For farmers who currently have plants in a nursery, he is advising that they erect a two or three-metre mesh barrier around the nursery, in order to prevent the incursion of the pest.
Additionally, Mr. McGlashan noted that the butterflies could be controlled by spraying the area with pesticides, in order to control the larvae. Pesticides which can be used include Malatine and Nemex, among others.
On the issue of aerial spraying, the Chief Technical Director said that he would have to be “very convinced that this is the way we have to go”.
“People talk about the bee sector and this is not the only sector that would be affected. You have other butterflies, and imbalances in the eco-system which can occur with spraying of a wide area,” he emphasized.
Mr. McGlashan pointed out that a Task Force was already in place to deal with the issue, adding that members comprise representatives of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Plant Quarantine Division, the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, and Trade Winds Citrus, among others.