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27 Jun 2013 185 views
 
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photoblog image Invasion

Invasion

Na's Dad has been a rice farmer here for more than 50 years, but has never seen a caterpillar invasion like this before.

 

If caught, and eradicated early, the rice will recover and the crop may not be reduced.

Invasion

Na's Dad has been a rice farmer here for more than 50 years, but has never seen a caterpillar invasion like this before.

 

If caught, and eradicated early, the rice will recover and the crop may not be reduced.

comments (14)

that certainly looks major. an interesting shot
Ray: I was told about it, Ayush, but it was still a shock to see up close.
Great image Ray with good reflections...

we had such an attack of caterpillars the year that we were married (1966)... while driving down the highway i had to slow down to stay on the road because it was covered with caterpillars... the trees on the left had no leaves at all... and i could see where they had eaten their way into a kl of trees on the right side of the road....petersmile
Ray: Thank you, Peter.

In Australia I had seen a few plagues of mice and grasshoppers, but not caterpillars.
It actually makes for a very interesting shot, though. Quite an invasion - I do hope they can be eradicated.
Ray: The farmers were mixing a cocktail of insecticides and spraying their crops while we were there, Elizabeth...they advised us to keep well up-wind of the farms.

I am sure the infestation will be overcome, but worry that the chemicals will poison the rice fish and all [including humans] who feed on them.

In SE Asia, DDT is still used, and I would not be surprised if it was part of the cocktail being used here.
  • Jennie
  • United States
  • 27 Jun 2013, 04:52
great capture, but all those little guys in one area would be more than I could take in person, I think. Hope the crop survived.
Ray: Na is very uncomfortable about caterpillars, Jennie, so she stayed in the car while I strolled down the to field to make this shot. Her jaw dropped when I showed her the picture.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 27 Jun 2013, 05:28
What an infestation, Ray. I hope the crop recovered, but at what a cost
Ray: Interesting to think about it, isn't it, Lisl:

* 100 years ago, this plague of grubs might have caused a famine, and resulted in thousands of people dying from starvation

* Now, small rice farmers are negatively profitable, and depend on eating their own rice for free and accepting monthly gifts from their children who have gone to the city to live and work.

* A crop that failed early in the cycle might be a financial blessing, as a lot of the farming costs are in fertiliser and harvesting, and the farmer can buy rice from the convenience stores.

* However, the spirit of farming is at play, and so the plague must be fought, even if the weapons will cause untold on-going problems.
  • Richard T
  • Suffolk ... where the sun rises first in Britain
  • 27 Jun 2013, 06:09
Just attempting to climb the greasy pole
Ray: "Greasy Pole"...now, there is an emotive term, heh!
  • Chris
  • England
  • 27 Jun 2013, 06:54
A fine sized infestation isn't it! I wonder what exactly they would grow into if left to their own devices?
Ray: There is a popular rumour in Thailand that USA has a secret airbase in the NE of Thailand...perhaps it is not a big stretch to believe these caterpillars are a drone breeding program that has gotten a little out of control...
I am amazed that DDT is still being used! They have a hard life farming and are probably creating future problems as well
Ray: DDT is still heavily used in Asia, Bill, and I have read reports doubting it is as toxic in the long-term as some of the more modern replacements. As a general rule, I try to keep well away from agricultural-strength chemicals.
  • Alan
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 Jun 2013, 10:19
Oh goodness. I've never seen anything like this and I never want to. I must be devastating for those people "living on the edge."
Ray: Here is my response to Lisl's comment, Alan...it covers the point you are making:

* 100 years ago, this plague of grubs might have caused a famine, and resulted in thousands of people dying from starvation.

* Now, small rice farmers are negatively profitable, and depend on eating their own rice for free and accepting monthly gifts from their children who have gone to the city to live and work.

* A crop that failed early in the cycle might be a financial blessing, as a lot of the farming costs are in mid-season fertiliser and harvesting, and the farmer can readily buy rice from the convenience stores.

* However, the spirit of farming is at play, and so the plague must be fought, even if the weapons will cause untold on-going problems such as from substances like DDT which is still in use.
A blow torch is a quick and non poisonous solution. I remember infestations of tent caterpillers and spruce bud worms at different times of my life. Yucky and devestating.
Ray: It is possible a blow torch would be more effective than spraying, Mary, especially as it is raining several times a day at the moment and so the spray is often washed off the plants/grubs.
  • Chad
  • Where latitude and attitude meet
  • 27 Jun 2013, 17:03
That looks like a lot of hard labour Ray, or will sprays be used?
Ray: The air is thick with DDT, Chad.
Very impressive Ray. It looks like a ballet!
Ray: I don't have video of them, Richard, but if I did then I might be tempted to give it a soundtrack of "Dance of the flowers".
It looks a disaster in the making they can eat so much.
My son Edward is visiting Bangkok this next week with his work so I hope he brings back plenty of images of the City to enlighten me with.
Ray: Tell your son to get in touch with me if he has a little spare time, Martin...perhaps I can show him some interesting stuff.
I've never seen so many caterpillars before in one place. How odd.
Ray: Odd...and, slightly chilling for some folks, Jacquelyn.

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