Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC)

News about the outbreak of the tomcat beetle (Paederus fusipes) plaguing Surabaya, Madison, Pati, and Jakarta have spread all over Indonesia for a while now. The insect, which emits a strong poisonous liquid can cause severe itching and even blisters on the skin. However, that very same poisonous liquid is suspected to become a potent ingredient to help fight cancer.

According to Dr. Hidayat Purnama of the Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB), the tomcat beetle is a natural predator of the brown planthopper, which is considered one of the most serious rice pests in Asia. In a day, a single tomcat beetle can eat seven brown planthoppers. But aside from its significant role in sustainable agriculture, it has been found to contain pederin which, has the potential to fight cancer. 

The recent tomcat outbreak in several communities in Indonesia may have been caused by the destruction of the insect's natural habitat. So that tomcat beetles will not invade your household, Dr. Purnama suggests reducing the number of lights used in the evening, instead of killing the insects. 



Source: IPB News|12 April 2012

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