Bacolod: Pest infestation now affecting 7 LGUs

(Photo courtesy of DA-Region 2)

Seventeen barangays of seven local government units in Negros Occidental are now affected by pest infestations, according to reports of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.

In an updated OPA report as of June 21, a total of 296.4 hectares of sugarcane plantations and cornfields in Himamaylan City, Isabela, Binalbagan, Moises Padilla, Ilog, Kabankalan City, and La Castellana, were damaged by armyworms, affecting 381 farmers.

Hardest hit was Isabela, with 109 hectares of cornfields attacked by armyworms, affecting 130 farmers, while 80 hectares of sugarcane plantations were also hit by pest infestations.

The infestation of armyworms and earworms in four Negros Occidental local government units has already affected 281 farmers, tilling 178.14 hectares of farmland, according to reports of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, as of June 21.

Since last week, the OPA and the Sugar Regulatory Administration, conducted massive spraying of areas infested by armyworms, in tandem with private firms.

The total value of the damage is yet to be established by the OPA.

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.

The armyworm outbreak has been blamed on climate change, triggered by the El Niño phenomenon and subsequent rains. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star)

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