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    Real Metarhizium 7. They are selective and they only kill the ticks and do not affect the animal.

    ICIPE scientists in partnership with private sector partners, RealIPM Kenya introduced a natural tick control product (acaricide), Real Metarhizium 7 with ability reduce tick infestation in livestock by great percentage.

    The new product which can last up to 3 weeks reducing application intervals for the livestock farmers is safe for animals, people and the environment and it is also affordable to farmers.

    Acaricide Metarhizium anisopliae 7 has proved effective in Kilgoris and Transmara in Kenya and Hargeisa region in Somaliland.

    Ticks infest a wide range of animals to suck blood and end up passing disease causing bacteria and virus, leading to great loss among livestock keepers.

    Across Africa, ticks and tickborne diseases cause an annual loss of more than US 168 million dollars and lead to the death of 1.1 million cattle every year. Ticks cause irritation, restlessness and weight loss to animals.

    They also cause direct skin injury and blood loss as they suck blood and create wounds in teats that eventually affect milk production.

    READ ALSO: New icipe facility to offer cheaper fruit-fly pesticide

    READ ALSO: Kenya goes after fake pesticides with new law

    READ ALSO: ICIPE recognized as a global hub for bee health expertise

    Chemical acaricides have side effects

    The most common method that farmers use to control ticks is application of chemicals either through spraying or dipping of their animals in cattle dips that have chemical acaricides. However, the use of chemicals has adverse effects on animals and people who use animal products.

    First, some of the chemical acaricides have been found to interfere with important functions in animal cells that help in the generation of energy and even respiration (the process by which oxygen is transferred to tissues in animal cells). Chemical acaricides have also been found to interfere with normal growth and the animal’s nervous system.

    Resistance to chemical Acaricides

    Most farmers tend to use the same acaricides over a long period and often complain that the ticks do not die even after frequent dipping. Apart from the adverse effects of chemical acaricides on animal health, ticks tend to develop resistance to them after a short period of use. Acaricide resistant strains of ticks are widespread in East Africa which could be the reason for the ineffectiveness of acaricides.

    Advantages of Real Metarhizium 7

    Natural acaricides such as Metarhizium anisopliae 7 on the other hand have been found to be the best way to control ticks since they have several advantages over chemical acaricides as detailed below:

    • They are selective and they only kill the ticks and do not affect the animal.
    • It is highly unlikely for ticks to develop resistance against M. anisopliae 7.
    • They have no adverse effects on the environment.
    • They are cheaper compared to chemical acaricides.
    • They do not leave behind any chemical residue that affects other living organisms and even people.
    • Farmers can benefit from higher profit margins as they do not need to spend a lot of money in tick control.

    The new M. anisopliae 7 will soon be available in the market under brand name “Real metarrhizium 7”.
    How farmers can use the new product?

    Real Metarhizium 7 will be available as a suspension (solution) which farmers can spray their livestock. The natural acaricide can last for more than 1 week; research has shown that the product can last 2 to 3 weeks when applied to livestock in the right way.

    For more information about the ticks Project, contact:
    Dr. Subramanian Sevgan, email:
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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    LI-COP Biopesticide. Biopesticides are cheap and do not leave any harmful residue in the soil, water or the air, eliminates by killing only the targeted pests or microorganisms.  

    For long farmers and farm produce consumers alike have been shying away from chemicals that are used to fight pest and diseases that also harm crops and animals. As farmers are already aware, overuse of these chemicals for pest and disease control is to blame for the destruction of beneficial insects that control pests naturally with little harm to the environment.

    The use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to control pests and diseases has been found to be the most effective way to combat pest and best practice in disease management. This is due to the many benefits to overcome in the use of synthetic pesticides.

    By use of biopesticides and fungicides that protect humans, animals and the environment farmers have a lot to enjoy. Unlike chemicals, biopesticides and fungicides which are cheap and do not leave any harmful residue in the soil, water or the air, eliminates by killing only the targeted pests or microorganisms. 

    Biopesticides are made from organic material and are therefore free of any synthetic substances (chemical substances). Biopesticides can be either from plant origin or made from microbes. All types of biopesticides kill one or several specific targets.

    Biopesticides are friendly to non-target organisms, they are specific. Other chemical pesticides used at high dosage of high toxicity will end up killing the pest and all other living organisms in the ecosystem (environment). However, biopesticides are very specific and will only kill the targeted pest but cause no harm to the useful natural enemies, humans, animals and the environment.

    They are cheaper. Biopesticides are made from naturally occurring products which makes its production cost cheaper. This translates into lower prices of the finished product as compared to synthetic pesticides.

    They are safe - Biopesticides are not only environmentally-friendly but also safe for human and animals. More people are becoming health-conscious and prefer organically produced products.

    Real IPM Products. The products come in various sizes or even sachets, making it convenient and cost-friendly even to small-scale farmers.

    Diseases management. There are a wide range of products available in the market from various commercial companies. These range from different types of bio-pesticides to traps and coating (such as fungicides used for seed dressing).

    Examples of Bio-pesticides include Real Bacillus subtilis (bio-fungicide): This is produced from a soilborne bacterium. It is a very effective product against powdery mildew and can be applied as a foliar spray. It is available in form of a fermented product and its recommended application rate is 1-2L/ha (½ litre - 1 litre per acre).

    Real Trichoderma (bio-nematicide and bio-fungicide): It is made from a fungus found in the soil known as Trichoderma asperellum. This fungus can grow on plant roots. Its application mode can be in form of root application or foliar spray. It has several benefits including; increasing the ability of plants to compete with soil-borne diseases that affect roots by enhancing growth and branching of roots, destruction of root nematode eggs, protecting the plants from being attacked by Meloidogyne spp as well as promotion of resistance in plant.

    The product is used for management of root knot nematodes and phytophthora. Its application can be done by drenching at a rate of 200ml/ha (100ml per acre) if one uses the spores in vegetable oil formulation and 1kg/ha (½kg per acre) when using the granular form.

    Pest Management can be done through the following methods; Metarhizium anisopliae. Real IPM (Kenya) has been working in collaboration with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and has come up with products made from metarhizium including Metarhizium 69, Metarhizium 78 and Metarhizium 62.

    Metarhizium is a naturally – occurring entomo-pathogenic fungi (a fungi that woks like a parasite) ending up killing the pest). Being a contact bio-pesticide, the efficacy of the product is affected by the amount of water used. When too much water is used, run-off water from the plant canopy reduces its effectiveness. Metarhizium spores germinate and colonize the pest, killing it in 2 to 4 days.

    Metarhizium is compatible with various fungicides and insecticides. Additionally, it is not harmful to natural enemies; beneficial parasitoids and predators which is very important in their conservation. They also have formulations for management of fruit flies.

    Real Metarhizium anisopliae 69. It is formulated as pure fungal spores in vegetable oil. It is commonly used in the management of whiteflies, mealy bugs, snout beetles and thrips. When soil application is made, the surface of the soil below the crop should be covered. It is used at a rate of 200ml/ha (80ml per acre).

    Real Metarhizium anisopliae 62. It is meant for management of aphids. However, for the control of waxy aphids, a wetting agent should be added to the product to enhance adhesion of the product to the pests’ body. Its application rate is 200ml/ha.

    Achieve (Metarhizium 78). It is used in the management of spider mites (Tetranychus urticae and T. evansii) and varroa mite, a parasite of bees. It can be combined with use of Phytoseiulus and Amblyseius andersoni in management of red spider mites. It is applied at a rate of 1Litre/ha (½litre per acre).

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    DiamondBack Moth larvae feed on leaves from the underside and leave tiny "windows"

    Brassica crops, which include cabbages, kales, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and rape seeds, are important vegetables in Kenya, largely grown for local consumption, export and processing (dehydration and oil extraction).

     While most of the production is in the small holder sector, commercial production is on the increase, especially, for cabbage. One major limiting factor to successful production of these vegetables is the diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae). The larvae are voracious defoliators with a potential to destroy entire crops if not effectively controlled. The pest makes the produce quality poor and unacceptable by the market forces.

    READ ALSO:Geneticists trick cabbage pest on to tobacco

    DBM feeds on the plants and affects it in all growth stages; the seedling stage, vegetative growing stage, flowering stage and fruiting stage. It attacks the growing points, inflorescence, leaves and stems. Under heavy infestations the entire plants may become riddled with holes. Cabbages develop deformed heads which encourages soft rots.

    The larvae feed on leaves from the underside and leave tiny "windows". The caterpillars first attack the outer leaves of the young plants and subsequently attack the developing plant leaving entry points for pathogens. The moths lay eggs singly or in groups of two or three on the leaves. Eggs are small, nearly round and yellowish. The larvae are light green and pointed at each end. Their bodies are covered by tiny, erect black hairs.   

    According to a publication by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, farmers growing vegetables such as cabbage should manage the pest using the following procedure.:

    Managing DiamondBack Moth pest
    1. Scout fields weekly for Diamondback moth larvae.
    2. Raise seedlings in protected nurseries to avoid infestations.
    3. Rotate cabbage with non‐susceptible hosts.
    4. Destroy infested crop residues and weed hosts around cabbage/kale fields.
    5. Use insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) such as Thuricide in combination with a wetting and sticking agent such as Silwet (oganosilicone 80% w/w + polyalkyleneoxide 20% w/w).
    6. Use agronets as physical barriers to prevent DBM infestations in the field.

    Note: Agro‐chemicals should be used in consultation with professional practitioners and considering existing cautionary/safety measures, particularly the manufacturer’s instructions


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