Imphal, May 15 (EMN): The entomologists of Central Agricultural University (CAU), Iroishemba in Manipur has claimed to have detected two more insects which are responsible for the vast destruction caused to maize plantations across the state.
The two insects are armyworm (Mythimna separata) and maize stem borer (Chilo partellus). Armyworm is said to be one of the major insect of maize in Asia while maize stem borer is one of the most economically damaging insect in Asia and Africa.
The presence of armyworm was detected during a survey conducted by a 5-member team of CAU including Entomologists, Agronomist and Pathologist at a maize field of Khonghampat Mayai Leikai in Manipur’s Imphal West District. The hybrid maize variety High Quality Protein Maize-5 was cultivated in the area where around 60 per cent maize plantation was affected. The team also visited two more maize fields in Bishnupur district during their May 10 survey.
Last week the scientists of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) have detected a devastating insect native to tropical and subtropical North America for the first time in Manipur. The insect called fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is currently responsible for widespread devastation of maize cultivation in all the districts of the state.
Fall armyworm which can feed on many host plants, can cause complete devastation of a field within a short time if remedial measures are taken up.
With the detection of two more insects, the concerned authorities’ needs to take various precautionary measures in order to control the insect invasion in the maize cultivated areas, according to an Entomologist of CAU.
Stating that climate variability, cultivation of maize round the year and mono-cropping could be the main reasons behind the insect attack on maize in the state, he said unlike fall armyworm which has a specific host, two other insects mentioned above can infest other crops too if necessary steps are not taken up.
The CAU team suggested the farmers to light a bulb of 200 Watt in the middle of the field, about two metres above maize plants. The insects can be destroyed by placing a plastic tub partially filled with kerosene near the electric bulb, the team felt. Total area under maize cultivation in Manipur covers around 20,000 hectares, according to official sources.