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States » East

Parts of Nagaland under attack of Fall Army Worm

Kohima, May 19 (UNI) The Fall Army Worm (FAW) is exotic and invasive migratory pest, which is a voracious feeder. The adult moth are capable of flying long distances to cover 100 Km in one night alone and in its life time and a generation, an adult can fly up to 300 miles.

Official sources said that the Fall Army Worm (Spodoptera frugiperda. J.E Smith 1797) is a species in the order of Lepidoptera of the family Noctuidae.
This armyworm is native to the tropical and subtropical region of America, distributed widely in the Eastern and central of North America and South America.
It was reported in Africa in 2016 and has seen its spread to 28 countries causing huge economic losses.
In India, for the first time it was reported during May 2018 in Karnataka and the pest was identified during June, 2018 and by July 2018 it subsequently spread out widely to the other states. In Nagaland, the first outbreak was reported in May, 2019.
Their migration rate is remarkably fast that some scientists speculate that its fast migration is being aided by the movement of air. The female moth can lay up to 1500 egg in a single or in multiple clusters on maize or its host plants.

Sources said that last year a total of 4470.17 hector of Kharif maize was infested by FAW, however it was brought under control without causing any economic losses.
This year infestation reports estimates to 2961.95 hector Input support from the Agriculture Department has been dispatched to the affected areas. Human resource support from ATMA, KVKs and CIPMC, and extension personnel of the Department is involved in the surveillance, monitoring and control operations. Another new pest, a semilooper, commonly known as inch worm has been reported from Kohima and Zunheboto District.
The pest is found to feeding on crops like potato, chilli and beans. The total area infested is approximately 700- 800 hector by this very pest. Mechanical control and Biopesticides such as Bacillus Thuringiensis, Beauveria bassiana and Azadirachtin is being used for control measures which will also be followed by release of egg parasitoids i.e. Trichogramma pretiosum which is produced by the Department’s Bio-Control Laboratory in Medziphema.

This semilooper infestation with high population above economic threshold level is being noticed for the first time in the State. It is presumed that it could be a migratory pest. The identification this pest is under process which would take some time.
However, general control operations for semilooper are in progress to prevent further spread. In case of severe outbreak the recommendation would be destruction of crops and take up alternative crop or resowing. This has contained the peak periods of incidence, thereby, reducing the economic losses of the farmers to an extent.
Moreover, plant protection sprays in the affected fields and awareness creation among the farming communities even in the midst of the present COVID-19 lockdown are being taken up as immediate measures since the agriculture activities are fully exempted.
The ongoing Surveillance and Monitoring and logistic support to the Districts and Sub-Divisions is supported through the State ATMA programme as interventions in a gap filling mode.
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