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The western corn rootworm is a dangerous pest that may cause severe damage to corn. It originated from North America, where pest control measures and harvest losses are estimated at least one billion US dollars a year, Rosselkhoznadzor said.
By now, the western corn rootworm has been reported in 22 European countries.
According to Ukraine’s state veterinary and phytosanitary service, the western corn rootworm was reportedly spread in seven regions, namely the Trans-Carpathian, Lviv, Ivano-Frankovsk, Ternopol, Khmelnitsky, Chernovtsy and Vinnitsy regions on an overall area of more than 72,000 hectares by January 1, 2014. Some sources say the pest has invaded the Volyn region too.
Experts predict that the pest may spread to Ukraine’s central regions in the eastward direction, which will create a risk of its further spread into the Russian territory, Rosselkhoznadzor said in a release on Monday. There is a risk that the pest may be brought to Russia with plant and other farming products by air or ground transport, which is fraught with serious economic damage. Western corn rootworm larvae damage corn roots, while adult beetles feed on all above-ground parts of the plant.
“Bearing in mind the high degree of the threat of the western corn rootworm being brought into Russia and the risks it might entail, Rosselkhoznadzor does not rule out that a temporary ban may be imposed on imports of quarantineable products by all means of transport in case the pest is found in pheromone traps set along Russia’s southern border,” Rosselkhoznadzor said.