Fall Armyworm Control Methods and Symptoms

A step by step guide for Fall Armyworm Control (FAW) in India

Today, we learn the control of fall armyworm in agriculture. We also discuss the various symptoms of fall armyworm and related chemical and organic control methods.

What is FAW – Fall Armyworm: Fall Armyworm is an insect pest that damages agriculture crops severely. The damages are economically severe in most of the crops especially in Maize crop in India.  The scientific name of the invasive fall armyworm is Spodopterafrugipeda (J.E. Smith) belonging to Lepidoptera: Noctuidae. This is considered as an invasive insect pest as it is infested into India from other African and American countries. Fall armyworm origin is considered to be from America. The first incidence or notice of fall Armyworm is reported from the Shivamoga region of Karnataka state in India during the month of May 2018. However, the FAW insect pest is spread across most of the states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chattisgarh and other states across the country. These are the states where the Fall Armyworm has infested.

Fall Armyworm Facts.
Fall Armyworm Facts.

Which crops are infested by the Fall Armyworm Insect Pest:

FAW majorly effects on the maize crop in India. Furthermore, as the FAW insect pest is polyphagous, it also infests on other following crops like sorghum, sugarcane, paddy, wheat, bajra, fodder crops, and other graminaceous or poaecea field crops are the crops affected by the fall armyworm. However, fall armyworm in maize in India is the major and serious insect pest.

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Economic Importance of fall Armyworm in Maize in India:

As the FAW insect pest causes severe economic damage in maize, it is economical insect pest.

  • It causes severe economic crop losses in maize.
  • The larval stage is the FAW insect stage that causes crop losses.
  • 1st, 2nd and 5thinstar of the fall armyworm larvae are considered to be the causal for severe injury to the maize plants.
  • The larvae feed voraciously on the plant leaves by staying in between the nodal and pedicel region of the leaves.
  • They feed by scraping the leaf surfaces. The larva loosens the leaves and ultimately causes defoliation.

Symptoms of fall Armyworm insect pest damage in Maize:

  • The stage of the symptom indicates the stage of the FAW larval growth.
  • Larval stage and symptoms decide the choice of control measure or pesticide to be applied.
  • At the seedling stage, different sizes of papery windows are seen on the infested maize plant leaves.
  • Ragged edged oblong to round hollows is seen on the leaves which may be infected by the 3rd instar larvae.
  • When the infestation is more, the leaves become loose and seems like may detach from the plants.
  • At a severe stage, extensive defoliation of the plants is seen and the faecal matter of the fall Armyworm insect pest can also be seen. It may be due to the voracious feeding of the larval instars.
  • Finally, no growth and development of the crop plants with no cob or tassel formation.
  • This is all about the symptoms observed due to the infestation of the Fall Armyworm in the maize plants.

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Management or Control of Fall Armyworm in India:

Earlier or during the early days of the FAW outbreak in India, it may be difficult to control. But, in the recent past, many government institutions, as well as other private companies, have developed organic and synthetic management practices to tackle the fall Armyworm infestation on maize plants in India. Some of the FAW control measures are listed below.

Fall Armyworm chemical control:

  • Seed treatment with cyantraniliprole 19.8 % + Thiamethoxam 19.8 % @ 4 ml per kg seed is found to be effective for about 2 to 3 weeks after the germination of the maize seeds.
  • Spray emamectin benzoate 5 SG @ 0.4gm/ lt water.
  • Spinosad 45 SC @ 0.3 ml/ lt water as spray application.
  • Spray chloratriniliprole 18.5 SC @ 0.4 ml/ lt water.
  • If you the bigger size larvae, apply thiodicarb 75% WP based poison bait.

Biological or organic control of Fall Armyworm (FAW) in India:

  • Spray 5% NSKE (Neem Seed Kernel Extract/Emulsion) 0r 1500 ppm azadirachtin @ 5ml / lt water.
  • Apply neem cake @ 500 kg/ha before sowing.
  • Spray 2 % of Bacillus thurengensis
  • Applyentomopathogenic fungi like Metarhizumanisopilae @ 1 X 108cfu/gm @ 3 gm/ lt water.
  • However, the maize farmer can use these biological control methods for 10% FAW infestation or 10% damage. It is suggested to go for chemical application or mixture of chemical as well as biocontrol application if the infestation is more than 10%.
  • Release insect parasitoids like Telenomusromus or Trichogrammapretiosum@ 50000 per acre maize field from the date of sowing to the date of harvesting once in every week or fortnight intervals.

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Cultural control of Fall Armyworm (FAW):

  • Select single cross fall armyworm (FAW) resistant maize cultivars which are under research and development.
  • Deep plowing helps in destroying the FAW eggs in the soil or plant debris of the previous crop.
  • Grow Napier grass in the borders of the maize field that acts as a FAW trap crop in the maize fields.
  • Install FAW pheromone traps @ 5 to 7 per acre maize field.
  • Establish the bird perches @ 10 – 12 per acre as soon as after sowing.
  • Weekly or once in every three days farm scouting is done and the insects are manually collected and destroyed.

Conclusion: Fall Armyworm is a notorious invasive pest in the recent past, prophylactic measures are to be followed and practiced carefully in order to protect the crop plants from its economical severe damage.

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  1. Information is very useful to farmers and agri extension work people. pl make it available to take a print of articles..Dr Pullamraju


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