Perhaps you feel surprised when you walk past the south side of UGM Main Office, particularly at the area called as ‘the Garden of Seven Pine Trees’ where broken tiles are neatly arranged in a circle. You may think that UGM is building a new jogging track or rearranging the garden. Regardless of your assumptions, the fact is that UGM is working to eradicate caterpillar pest in that area. Over the years, various efforts have not been successfull.
Head of Administration and Household Affairs of UGM, Agus Hartono, SE, M.Ec.Dev., said that to prevent and eradicate the pest, UGM sticks to the principle of not using chemical pesticides. UGM has made various efforts, including inundation, use of predatory fungi and worms, and net installation or pumped lamp manually. "Because the area is wide, those efforts seemed to be too slow. The result was not satisfactory," he said on Friday (18/6).
Agus said that the effort to break the life cycle of catterpillar by arranging broken tiles on the ground is a pilot project. after learning from the experience of UGM gardeners. "Actually, this is a pilot project. There are locations in the east and west sides of the garden with the grass destroyed by the caterpillars while the grass in some other parts still looks green. After an excavation, in the location with the green grass, many gravels or stones were found underneath. Because of the finding, we wanted to apply it with broken roof tiles," he explained.
According to Agus, in caterpillar life cycle, we should consider the phase when caterpillar becomes pupate. At that time, it will stay 30 cm deep in the ground. In due course, it will rise to the surface becoming Ampal. "Ampal finally lays eggs on the ground that will become caterpillars. Therefore, this new method is expected to stop their life cycle," he said.
Nurudin Basyori, S.P., the Coordinator of Garden and Cleaning felt upset with the pest because it kills almost all types of plants. However, he has new hope now. The test done has showed quite satisfactory results. The grass planted on top of the broken tiles has turned green. "The tiles are covered with soil and then fertilized to grow the grass," he explained.
Nurudin still continues to do the monitoring because the soil used to cover the tiles presumably still contains caterpillar eggs. "It can be said as totally eradicated in the next rainy season if there are no holes showing up," he concluded.