Armyworm infestation great concern: Philsurin 

Sugarcane attacked by armyworms in Himamaylan City being sprayed with insecticide.* SRA BISCOM photo 

Fall armyworm attacks on crops in two cities and five towns in Negros Occidental have affected 381 farmers, an   Office of the   Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) updated report released Monday, June 24, showed. 

The attacks have affected sugarcane on 80 hectares in Himamaylan City and corn covering 216.49 hectares in Himamaylan and Kabankalan cities, and Isabela, Binalbagan, Moises Padilla,  Ilog and La Castellana, the OPA report said. 

The Philippine Sugar Research Institute (PHILSURIN) said, in a statement released Monday, that the  recent infestation of armyworms, locally known as “Tagostos”, on several fields in the southern Negros calls for great concern in the sugar industry. 

“This outbreak is not out of mere coincidence, but a result of numerous factors which are chiefly driven by climate change. Severe infestation of armyworms usually occurs at the onset of the rainy season after a long dry spell,” it said.

The armyworms are one of the most destructive leaf feeders. The armyworm activities are more prominent when nights are warm and debris or cane trash is in the sugarcane fields. Severe infestation in cane usually defoliates standing young cane leaving only the midribs standing, PHILSURIN said. 

The key to managing armyworm infestations is early detection and intervention, as these pests can quickly cause extensive damage if left unchecked, it said. 

 The following are PHILSURIN’s recommendations to manage armyworms from transferring to another field: 

 • Clean borders (no weeds) and formation of furrows along the borders will manage the further spread of the armyworms to the other field; 

 • Avoid as much as practicable to conserve trash on flat land with history of flooding and armyworm infestation; and 

 • Chemical control (only for heavily infested field) with insecticide should target larva 10 to 20mm long. Larvae larger than 20mm long can be very difficult to kill and may require higher rate of insecticides.*  

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