Bug eat bug

Published: Sunday 30 April 1995

-- Researchers at the us Agriculture Department claim that pest population in grain stores can be controlled by increasing the population of a tiny insect-eating bug.

Lycotcoris Campestris -- the larger pirate bug -- is found in grain stores thriving on the insects that thrive on grain. According to entomologist Thomas Phillips, it can be removed from grain during processing.

This dark brown 0.3 cm-long bug kills pests 10 to 50 times its size within a minute by injecting poisonous saliva. It devours all but 2 species of grain pests.

L campestris can survive in subfreezing temperatures and reproduce as soon as they are warmed up. It starts gorging the moment it begins its 100-day life and can live without food or water for about 20 days.

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