Bacolod: Armyworms attack cornfields in three more LGUs

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photo courtesy of The Visayan Daily Star

Bacolod City – Armyworms were also reported to have attacked corn crops in three more local government units in Negros Occidental.

Nilo Basco, coordinator of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist Crop Protection, disclosed over-the-weekend that armyworms hit the corn areas in Barangay Tabu, Ilog, and Brgy. Quintin Remo in Moises Padilla, while they are still confirming similar pest infestations in La Castellana and Brgy. Concepcion in Talisay City.

Provincial Agriculturist Dina Genzola earlier reported that 82 hectares of sugarcane fields were hit by armyworms in Himamaylan City, along with 45 hectares of cornfield in Isabela and Binalbagan, as well as Himamaylan City, affecting 208 farmers.

The massive spraying of sugarcane fields that were infested by armyworms has been conducted by the OPA and Sugar Regulatory Administration, in tandem with private firms, in Sitio Iling-Iling, Brgy. Cabadiangan, Himamaylan City, Rep. Emilio Bernardino Yulo disclosed.

According to the Department of Agriculture, armyworms are destructive pests that got their names from their army-like movement in agricultural fields. They usually consume turf grass but would eat any vegetation in their path. They can be controlled using neem oil-based sprays, or with biological controls like earwigs, spiders, and predatory wasps.

Basco said they are now fast tracking the purchase of P3 million worth of pesticides, to initially address the further spread of armyworms to other LGUs.

Yulo said the armyworm outbreaks may have been caused by climatic change, triggered by the El Niño phenomenon and subsequent rains.

During the dry season, armyworm larvae stay close to the ground, feeding on grasses and other plants. Later on, they move up to feed on plant leaves and fruits.
Basco said they are still in the process of assessing damage to crops hit by the armyworms. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star)

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