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Swamped bugs feast on pumpkins

Eliza Rogers, Wednesday August 7, 2013 - 12:32 EST
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Dan Papacek orders up to 200 tonnes of butternut squash pumpkins (pictured in the chambers above) and wheat every year to fuel insect production at Bugs for Bugs. - ABC

An important bug farm in south-east Queensland has trucked in ten tonnes of butternut squash pumpkins from North Queensland to rebuild its stocks after the January floods literally washed much of them away.

Bugs for Bugs, in Mundubbera, which breeds bugs to fight pest insects in Australia and overseas, suffered about half a million dollars' worth of damage.

The business normally orders about 200 tonnes of butternut pumpkins and wheat a year to keep up insect production, but owner Dan Papacek says capacity's been slashed.

"Immediately after the floods, we were probably about to 5 or 10 per cent, but we're gradually building up to somewhere around 25 to 40 per cent of our former demand."

Sourcing fresh, good quality butternuts free of pesticides is pivotal to the business.

Mr Papacek says there have been some nasty surprises in the past.

"At times, we've even received pumpkins that we were assured were free of pesticide, only to find that within a few weeks, our insect cultures were dying."


© ABC 2013

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