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Fall armyworm on wheat

Spodoptera frugiperda
  • Avoid late or off-season planting and avoid planting new crop near infested fields
  • Avoid staggered planting (planting at different dates in the same field), as this provides a continous source of food for the pest
  • Use short maturing and less preferred wheat varieties to escape the pest infestation that might occur later in the season
  • Ensure optimum use of fertilizer for wheat plants to be able to compensate for damage done and apply at the right time
  • Conserve shelters and flowering plants on the edges for beneficial insects such as ground beetles and parasitoids
  • Destruction of volunteer wheat and weedy grasses in ditches around field margins can eliminate these sources of armyworms
  • Rapid disposal of wheat residues after harvest
  • After germination of seedlings, scout fields, at 5 or more spots, weekly (starting from the field margin) for larvae on plants and whether the problem is widespread or confined to certain areas or edges.
  • Caterpillars: light green to dark brown with longitudinal stripes. Dark head with an upside down pale Y-shaped marking on the front. The second-to-last body segment has four dark spots forming a square (3rd instar and above)
  • Look for leaves that seem to have had all of their green tissue removed which gives the leaf a "window pane" appearance. Examine some plants showing evidence of injury, and look for small caterpillars. The suggested treatment threshold is 2-3 larvae per linear foot of row in wheat with active feeding symptoms.
  • Fall armyworm larvae feed primarily during the night and during cloudy weather. During the day, look for armyworms under loose soil and fallen leaves on the ground.
  • Use a pheromone with the Universal Bucket Trap to estimate adult moth population
  • If available, spray young caterpillars with neem-based products before they move to neigbouring plants
  • Use microbial biopesticides based on bacteria, fungi and viruses if available

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