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Fall armyworm on maize

Spodoptera frugiperda Fall armyworm
  • Avoid late planting or off-season planting and avoid planting new crop near infested fields
  • Use a mixture of maize varieties when planting; varieties showing resistance/tolerance, short duration or increased leaf toughness.
  • Avoid staggered plantings (plots of different ages)
  • Ensure optimum use of fertilizer for strong maize plants able to compensate for damage done and apply at the right time
  • Keep the surroundings of the plot free of grass weeds
  • Conserve shelters and flowering plants on the edges for beneficial insects such as ground beetles and parasitoids
  • Intercrop maize with crops not susceptible to FAW such as cassava or yam, or with less susceptible crops such as cowpeas or beans
  • Avoid spraying insecticides early in the crop cycle as this will kill natural enemies that control the pest, and it might not be economical
  • Do not move infested plant material from the farm to reduce spread
  • Start monitoring as soon as the plant emerges
  • Monitor 10 consecutive plants in 10 locations of the field
  • Look for creamy/grey egg masses covered in silk located on the underside or top of the leaves and on the stems
  • Look for light green/dark brown caterpillars with longitudinal stripes, dark head with an upside down pate Y-shaped. The second-to-last body segment has 4 dark spots forming a square. Do so in early morning or evening hours
  • Look for light coloured patches (“window panes”) to large ragged and elongated holes in the leaves emerging from the whorl
  • Look for caterpillars and accumulation of frass in the whorl or burrowed into the side of the cobs
  • At early whorl stage, take action if >20% of plants are damaged or infested with larvae. At late whorl stage, if small larvae can be found then take action if >40% of whorls are damaged. At tassel and silk stage, do not spray anymore
  • On small-scale farms, handpick and destroy the egg masses and larvae
  • If available, spray young caterpillars with neem-based products before they enter the ears or whorl

CREATED/UPDATED: November 2016/April 2018
PRODUCED BY: Plantwise

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