Imphal, May 6 (EMN): A team of scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Manipur Centre detected a new invasive insect in maize for the first time in Manipur.
The insect called Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) was detected at Lamphel and Langol of ICAR, Manipur centre in the outskirt of Imphal city and at Chandonpokpi village farm in Chandel district.
It is a polyphagous insect that can feed on many host plants and can cause complete devastation of a field within a short time if appropriate control measures are not taken, the ICAR team said.
The new invasion should be considered seriously and the people should have knowledge about it to manage the insect pest rather than blindly using insecticides recommended by pesticide dealers to control it, they said.
In India, this insect was detected for the first time in Karnataka in 2018 and rapidly spread to other parts of the country. In January 2019, Chattisgarh was the last state to report the insect.
This insect was earlier confined to America until 2015 and by 2017 spread to some African countries, wreaking havoc in the continent.
In May 2019 it was reported from NE Indian states such as Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and in Manipur, ICAR Manipur centre said.
Regarding the insect’s rapid spread, scientist (entomology) Dr Arati Ningombam said that it is because of the strong capable of flying by female insect (can fly more than 100km a night) besides being an exotic species, they’ve no natural enemies in the new environment which is similar to their native tropical and sub-tropical in America.
Maize is the most important cereal crop in Manipur after rice. The development and introduction of HQPM (High-Quality Protein Maize) and change in crop diversification favouring intercropping with legumes have brought about a quiet revolution among the farmers, besides increasing yield and soil fertility.
Present day use of maize especially HQPM as feed for cattle and poultry industry also offers huge scope for the growth of small and medium enterprises in animal husbandry thereby providing a win-win situation for both maize farmers and the cattle/poultry farmers.
Karnataka is the largest state for maize cultivation in the country while Nagaland is the largest maize producer among NE states.