PRESS RELEASE Wife of the Lagos State governor, Mrs. Bolanle…
African Armyworms are believed to have infested farms in Oyo state in 2016 from Benin Republic and are now known to have spread to other states of the country in the Southwest and Southeast largely destroying maize crops. Here are 10 things you should know about these pests.
1. Their botanical name is Spodoptera exempta, other names are okalombo, kommandowurm, or nutgrass armyworm
2. They are not actually worms but the larvae of an African moth. Their name comes from the way they swarm farms from grasslands in what is similar to a marching army.
3. They feed on grasses, early stages of cereal crops (e.g., corn, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum), sugar cane and sometimes Coconut. This is perhaps what makes them so dangerous for our food security, they have the capacity to wipe out our locally produced grains thereby inducing more hunger in the country.
4. They are more prevalent in the rainy season and less active during the dry season.
5. The aduItmoths can live up to 10 days with the female having the capacity to lay 1,000 eggs before it dies.
6. The aduItmoths can travel up to hundreds of kilometers after morphing from the pupa stage. This makes them spread across borders over a wide area with ease.
7. In 2009, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency to fight the armyworm infestation destroying crops in her country.
8. In 2016, an infestation occurred in Zambia with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) indicated that some farms had been completely wiped out by armyworms. The Zambian airforce had to spray pesticides on affected areas from the air.
9. Other parts of the world where African Armyworms can be found include Yemen, some Pacific islands, and parts of Australia.
10. An infestation is best tackled with pesticides with proper monitoring from the government. It is also believed that having predators like birds, certain species of wasp and ladybugs that feed on the armyworm at different stages of its lifestyle present in affected areas is also beneficial. Another recommended control agent is neem oil spray which kills the larvae.