BHAWANIPATNA: THE dreaded Fall Army Worms (FAW) that were first sighted maize crops in Khaichuan village a week back, have now spread to other parts of the district.
Agriculture Department officials said FAW pests have been sighted in maize crops in Salepali village under Dadpur gram panchayat of Bhawanipatna block, Manjhari and Kanakpur villages of Golamunda block and Degaon village under Gokuleswar gram panchayat in Kesinga block. Larvae of the pest which feeds on multiple crops has been seen by farmers.
FAW having the scientific name of Spodoptera Frugiperda primarily feeds on maize, but can consume rice, cotton, sugarcane and some vegetables. At the larvae stage, the worm causes damage to crops, feeding on more than 80 plant species. After developing into a moth, it can fly up to 100 km in a night.
Agriculture experts have started surveillance and preventive measures in the affected areas and training of officials concerned in containing the pest are underway since August 4 in Bhawanipatna, Junagarh and Dharamgarh.
Plant Protection Officer, Janakiballav Mohapatra said the situation is not alarming as of now. He said farmers awareness drive is going on and pesticides like Fifronin, Fertera mixed with Neem oil is being applied on affected crops.
He added that a requisition has been sent to the Agriculture Directorate to supply Pheromone traps and bio-agent of Trichogramma species which can prevent the pest from spreading. The pest, which was witnessed in some states for the first time last year, has been detected in Odisha for the first time.