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North China Braces for Moth Infestation
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A species of moth, known as "fall webworm," is expected to plague a wider area this year as abnormally warm weather helped more of the insects survive the winter.

About 270,000 hectares in north China's Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, northeast China's Liaoning, and east China's Shandong may be plagued by the fall webworm this year, according to sources with the forestry bureau of Hebei Province.

This picture, taken in October 2006, shows the larvae of American white moths that plagued Luannan County, north China's Hebei Province.

An official with the bureau said the five areas will join together to control the spread of the destructive moths to ensure the ecological safety of Beijing, a top priority before the Olympic Games in 2008.

Last year, a plague of "fall webworm" broke out in the same regions, affecting 234,000 hectares.

The moth, dubbed "the leaf killer," can defoliate leafy plants and trees, such as willows, elms, and poplars in a matter of days, experts said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2007)

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