Beijing: A novel way to deal with troublesome pine moths, a common pest which causes serious damage to forests, has proved effective as villagers in China collect the pupas and process them into a delicacy, media reported on Saturday.
There has been no moth epidemic in recent years in the Huangtuliangzi forest farm, the second largest of its kind in Hebei province, said Chi Mingfeng, manager of the state-owned forest.
At least one tenth of the 14,000-hectare forest farm used to be plagued by the pest, the Global Times quoted the manager as saying.
"When the epidemic was serious, large areas of trees became leafless just in a few days," he said.
A decade ago, Chi learned that the pupas could be eaten. He then sent some to the country's meat quality supervision and inspection centre where tests showed them to be a rich source of nutrition.
The farm soon set up a pupa processing works with a capacity of 50 tonnes each year. Villagers began to collect the pupas in the forest and sold them to the factory which also proved to be a good income source.
"The pupas are found less and less in the surrounding area, so we now purchase them from Inner Mongolia and Liaoning," said Chi.
Currently, China has 12 million hectares of forests suffering the ravages of pests each year, causing direct economic losses of more than 100 billion yuan ($15 billion), according to the state forestry administration.