11 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Rains Set to Intensify Armyworm Outbreak

Photo: MAO
A technician sprays insecticide.

MOIST winds coming into Zimbabwe from the north may bring more moths that will develop into armyworm and trigger fresh outbreaks of the pest, the Department of Research and Specialist Services has warned.

Head, Plant Protection Research Institute, Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere yesterday said armyworm moths are wind-driven and the current efforts to contain the pest may be ruined.

"They are coming in from the north. They originate from countries such as Zambia, Uganda and even Tanzania and are blown into the country when strong moist winds bring rain. More rainfall brings more moths and ultimately fresh outbreaks.

"Farmers must therefore check their fields and pastures daily and report any unusual sightings to their extension officers, Government offices near them or our office," Dr Chikwenhere said.

He said the armyworms are very devastating and can destroy vast tracts of crops or foliage overnight if they are not reported and controlled.

Armyworm feed during the night.

Dr Chikwenhere said his department had enough chemicals to contain the current outbreaks, noting that all reported cases had been successfully handled.

"We have enough Carbaryl 85 percent chemical to contain the pest. We have chemicals mainly for communal areas though we can also extend our services to the commercial sector."

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