TODAY -

Invasive pest Fall Armyworm detected in State
Source: The Sangai Express / PIB

Imphal, May 06 2019: The State's maize cultivation is now facing serious threats following detection of the highly invasive pest Fall Armyworm.

According to information received from ICAR, Manipur Centre, the pest has already started doing extensive damages to maize cultivation at Chandonpokpi, Chandel district.

This pest (Fall Armyworm) was earlier confined to the USA until 2015 and by 2017, it spread to some African countries, wreaking havoc in the continent.

In India, this pest was detected for the first time in Karnataka in 2018 and rapidly spread to other parts of the country.

By January 2019, Chattisgarh was the last State to report the pest.

In May, 2019 it has been reported from North East States such as Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur.

It was found in Lamphel and Langol Research farm of ICAR, Manipur Centre.

Chandonpokpi village in Chandel district is now under severe threat from this pest, said one ICAR scientist.

Its rapid spread is due to the female moth being a strong flier capable of flying 100 km in a night and being an exotic insect, there is absence of natural enemies that could keep them under check.

Another factor is, its natural environment is the tropical and sub-tropical parts of America that is similar to the environmental conditions in India.

It is a polyphagous pest that can feed on many host plants.

It can cause complete devastation of a field within a short time if appropriate control measures are not taken.

It has been reported to feed on rice, sorghum, sugarcane and many economically important vegetables.

Any invasion by a new, exotic pest is always a threat to the farmers and biodiversity of a place.

Manipur being a biodiversity hotspot with many rare and threatened flora is more vulnerable.

This new invasion should be considered seriously and knowledge about this new pest is the only way to manage the insect pest rather than blindly using insecticides recommended by pesticide dealers.

A sensitization Workshop on "Awareness on Fall Armyworm and its management in the scientific production of maize" will be held this month at ICAR, Manipur Centre to spread awareness about the exotic pest and to train farmers on its eco-friendly management under the joint aegis of ICAR, Manipur Centre and ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research, PAU Campus, Punjab.

The ICAR scientist advised removal of weeds around the crop fields, manual destruction of egg masses and caterpillars and to set up pheromone traps at the rate of 4 per hectare for monitoring and 10 per hectare for mass trapping of adult insects.

He further advised spraying any of the insecticides namely; Green Racer (Beauveriabassiana) @ 3-5ml/litre of water which should be followed by Green Pacer (Metarhiziumanisoplae) spray after 5-7 days @ 3-5 ml/ litre of water or Dimethoate 30% EC @ 1ml/litre of water or ATIRA/CROPDON/TEGATA/ALIKA (Thiamethoxam 12.6% + Lambdacyhalothrin 9.5%ZC) @ 2.5ml/10 litres of water.

However, he warned that blindly using other insecticides recommended by pesticide dealers to control Fall Armyworm may prove counter-productive and more disastrous.


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