The Fall Armyworms are spreading like a wildfire and causing a havoc.
The fall armyworm can damage and destroy a wide variety of crops in its larvae stage which causes large economic damage. Larvae can also burrow into the growing point and affect the growth of plants. The larvae penetrate crops and feed from the inside. Larvae cause damage by consuming foliage. Young larvae initially consume leaf tissue from one side. The larvae may do the damage but the adult moths ensure the rapid spread of the pest. Moths are very strong flyers, covering vast distances, so the infestation can occur in very short time.
Fall armyworm larvae can wreak havoc on a wide range of crops based on their food preferences. Destruction can happen almost overnight because the first stages of a caterpillar’s life require very little food, and the later stages require about 50 times more.
The pest reproduces at a rapid speed; an adult female can lay up to 1844 eggs/female (Barros et al. 2010), and several and overlapping generations occur every year.
In its larval stage, it can cause significant damage to crops, if not well managed. The pest mainly feeds on maize/corn but can attack and survive on more than 100 plant species including rice, sorghum, sugarcane, cabbage, beet, peanut, soybean, alfalfa, onion, cotton, pasture grasses, millet, tomato, potato, etc. It poses an enormous and wide-scale risk to the agriculture sector and it stands to intensify global poverty and hunger.
It is estimated that almost 40% of those species that armyworms target are economically important.
The fall armyworm was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and has quickly spread to almost all maize growing countries in Africa and reached South Africa in 2017. Because of trade and the moth’s strong flying ability, it has the potential to spread further. The farmer’s livelihoods are at risk as the non-native insect threatens to reach Asia and Europe.
The Fall armyworm has been reported to cause annual losses of US$600 million in Brazil alone.
There are 208 million people dependent on maize for food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Maize also provides crucial income for small-holder farmers in the region.
Currently, more than 300 million Africans depend on maize as their main food source, and 46 of 53 countries in sub-Saharan Africa cultivate the crop.
Fall Army Worm has cost African economies billions of pounds in crop losses
Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (Cabi) chief scientist Dr. Matthew Cock said: “This invasive species is now a serious pest spreading quickly in tropical Africa and with the potential to spread to Asia.”
If proper control measures are not implemented, the fall armyworm could cause extensive maize yield losses of up to $6.2 billion per year in just 12 countries in Africa where its presence has been confirmed, according to the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI).
The damages are reported as follows:
Fall armyworm found near Broome
21 Apr 2020
The invasive pest fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) has been confirmed near Broome following earlier discovery of the pest in Kununurra.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has identified two specimens, the first collected on forage sorghum south of Broome and the second on Rhodes grass on a property east of Broome.
Fall armyworm is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas.
Since 2016 it has rapidly spread to and throughout Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China and Southeast Asia. It has been found in north Queensland and the Northern Territory.
DPIRD is working with growers and industry to help ensure industries are prepared for and can minimise the impacts of fall armyworm.
Pheromone traps have been distributed in Kununurra, Broome, Carnarvon and Geraldton, as part of surveillance to help determine spread of the pest.
Fall army worms destroy crops worth Sh3 billion
By Anyango Otieno | May 24th 2018
Fall army worms have destroyed Sh3 billion worth of crop, according to Migori Governor Okoth Obado.
The pest is known to mainly feed on maize, but it can also infest close to 100 other crops, including rice, wheat, sorghum and avocado. “If you look at the damage that has been caused by the worm since its presence was detected in Kenya, we have lost over Sh3 billion. It is estimated that as a country we have lost between Sh3 billion and Sh5 billion as a result of crops being destroyed by the fall army worms,” said Mr Obado at a workshop at Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services offices in Nairobi.
Farmers were advised to try a method called push-and-pull, which may not require a lot of effort to be put in place. This involves farmers growing other crops that are repellant to the pests. But how feasible is this? And is growing some other crop a solution to this?
Pesticides failed to give results and the armyworms have even developed a resistance towards the traditional pesticides used. Evidence for this is as follows:
Resistance to the usual pesticides makes armyworm more dangerous
By Agatha Ngotho │ April 16, 2018
Agriculture is grappling with many pests already, and as USAid’s Regina Eddy says, the armyworm is unique in that it is resistant to many conventional pesticides. Eddy is the coordinator of Fall Armyworm Task Force at the USAid Bureau of Food Security.
She said the pest also has a voracious appetite that particularly targets maize, which is a vital staple crop in Kenya and for many families in Africa. Eddy said the pest can cause billions of dollars in damage and put hundreds of millions of people at risk of hunger.
“The fall armyworm has been identified in over 35 countries in the past year in sub-Saharan Africa. This poses a great problem to agriculture in Africa, threatening food security and livelihoods,” she said on Wednesday during a video press conference with African journalists.
Is there any solution available to combat these pests?
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Termirepel™ is available in three basic forms: Masterbatch, liquid concentrate, and lacquer.
Termirepel™ Masterbatch is specially made for polymeric applications and used as additives in their processing time. It can be incorporated into the polymeric applications like the agricultural films and mulches, irrigation pipes, tree guards, greenhouse films etc. used for crop cultivation purpose. The product can be incorporated into the cables, and other applications used for agriculture.
Termirepel™ liquid concentrate is to be mixed in paints in pre-determined proportion and can be applied on the concrete fences around farms. It can be used on the interior and exterior of storehouses used to store food grains and other agricultural produce.
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The repelling mechanism of the product would debar the worm and other insects that could damage the crops. Thus Termirepel™ is the best protection against these invasive fall armyworms.
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