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Dangerous Fall Armyworm Risks Crops, Agri Experts Distressed

The agricultural experts of KVK, Bastar are distressed as a dangerous insect called the Fall Armyworm (FAW) has been found in a few areas of the region. Native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of America, the insect scientifically called Spodoptera frugiperda, is known to cause significant damage to crops.

Sheetal Dhamecha
Fall Armyworm

The agricultural experts of KVK, Bastar are distressed as a dangerous insect called the Fall Armyworm (FAW) has been found in a few areas of the region. Native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of America, the insect scientifically called Spodoptera frugiperdais known to cause significant damage to crops. 

It prefers maize but can feed on more than 80 additional species of crops including sorghum, millet, sugarcane, rice, vegetable crops and cotton. 

FAW was detected in Central Africa in early 2016 and quickly spread to all of Sub- Saharan Africa. In July 2018, it was confirmed in India. The moth was seen in parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu then. Due to moth’s strong flying ability, it has significant changes to spread faster. It can fly up to 100 km per night and the female moth can lay up to 1000 eggs in her lifetime. 

Fall armyworm

Sri Lanka’s maize crop has been hit by the worm in the ongoing main (Maha) cultivation season. The State Agricultural Agency has substantially reduced maize forecast for the season. As per reports, of the 70,700 hectares of maize sown in the current season, 40,000 hectares have been infected by the insect to varying degrees. 

Currently in India, its presence is known in Bastar, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Researchers are looking for ways to prevent the crops from being damaged by this insect through pesticides and traps. However, there isn’t a rule of thumb to follow yet. Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable management practices used in America need to be adapted to countries’ socio-economic-environmental contexts and the agricultural researchers and scientists are working for the same. 

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