THANJAVUR: Fall armyworm, a pest which has severely affected maize crops in Africa and reported in Karnataka in July, has now reached Thanjavur district. The fact that the pest also infests other crops like paddy and millets has set alarm bells ringing as it could jeopardise the production of paddy in the delta districts if they are not controlled.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (ICAR-NBAIR) team found out the invasive pest fall armyworm (spodoptera frugiperda) during the second week of July this year in maize fields in Karnataka. That was the first incidence of the pest in Asia, which was earlier reported in 2016 in Africa.
The pest which eats away the maize stalk would affect the productivity. Within a span of two months, the pest has been reported in Thanjavur district. “The pest was found in a maize field in Nainankulam in Pattukkottai taluk,” an official of the Agriculture department told Express. The pest was found in a 20-day-old crop in that village. As the pest would eat away the chlorophyll of the plants, the leaves would turn white, the officials pointed out.
The leaves would also have elliptical holes as the pest would eat away portions. Further, the third to sixth stage caterpillars of the pest would eat away the stalk of the crop. As a result, the young crops get affected mostly by this pest, they added. The officials have recommended the introduction of bio-pesticides like bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), beauveria bassiana, metarhizium anisopliae to control these alien species.
The officials have recommended the introduction of bio-pesticides like bacillus thuringiensis or beauveria bassiana. If the damage was severe emamectin benzoate or chlorantraniliprole or azadirachtin
could be used