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Saturday, September 23, 2000
Delegation of moths swarms Olympic Park

By BROOKE EDWARDS -- SportsTicker

 SYDNEY -- There is one delegation neither the IOC nor SOCOG had counted on, and a rather large one at that: Bogong Moths.

 Millions of the large flying insect have descended on the Olympic precinct, invading the Olympic Park, swarming visitors in the main stadium, eating stands and in public toilets -- in general, anywhere there is light.

 Many tourists who are used to such large insects, particularly those from North America and Europe, have been frightened by the swooping, seemingly aggressive moths.

 "They are attracted by the lights," said entomologist Ted Edwards. "The only way to discourage them is by switching off the lights in the early hours of the morning so they have a chance to get away.

 "If they leave the lights on, they just continue to accumulate and it could become a problem. I'm sure it's something they didn't think about in their Olympic planning."

 The Bogongs normally migrate in early October but have begun earlier this season because of the unsually warm weather.

 And Sydney's lights can confuse the moths, who normally get their bearings from the moon.

 The Bogongs likely won't be the only insects to visit Olympic Park.

 The special lights at the Sydney Olympic stadium use mercury vapor, which radiates more of the ultra violet spectrum than normal incandescent bulbs and thus attract more bugs.

 "The easiest way to deal with them is to learn to like them," suggested Edwards.

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