Aaron Muteria of Kenya Biologics agronomist holding tutrack and pheromone packet which is part of the falltrack system used in trapping male FAW moths.
Farmers can now wipe Fall Armyworms (FAW) from their farms in less than seven days with falltrack system trap by Kenya Biologics Limited, a company that makes bio-insecticides, bio-fungicides, bio-stimulants and crop deficiency correctors. The whole system goes at Sh630 each and can be set at canopy height, 40cm above the ground using strong stick and string.
The system which was introduced for farmers last year in February has seen farmers who have embraced it do away with costs of buying chemicals, spraying equipment and eventually saving time for applying the chemicals as one trap can monitor a whole field.
“We are encouraged by the fact that farmers who have used our system extensively have experience change in their farms as the most trapped worms are the male type, that means there is no multiplication and future generation of FAW in their areas,” said Aaron Muteria, Kenya Biologics agronomist.
“We are encouraging farmers from various locations to collectively employ the use of falltrack as it would be difficult to control the warms if only one farmer among many other farmers affected in a given area uses the system.”
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Falltrack system has a trap and a lure. The falltrack lure contains pheromones, a hormone which attracts the male FAW moth. “Each lure contains a concentration of pheromones which can lead up to three times more catches compared to other lures in the market with lower concentrations.”
When the male FAW moths gets attracted to the falltrack they get land on a sticky paper surface where they get stuck therefore the sticky paper should be replaced after every eight weeks when it gets saturated.
Paper sticker cost Sh50, pheromones goes for Sh290 and tutrack which holds the whole system at Sh290.
Muteria advices that when catches in monitoring traps exceed three moths per trap per week, mass-trapping should be started. Use four traps per acre or 10 traps per hectares for mass-trapping.
“If pest persists we encourage farmers to double the number of traps in the field.”
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Other environment friendly options include push and pull-technology where multiple farming system of multiple cropping involving intercropping cereal crops that contain insect repellant legumes in the genus Desmodium and planting a forage plant such as Napier grass a border around the intercrop is practiced.
Some farmers have also employ the use of certain laundry detergents such as jik in taming deadly fusarium wilt disease among other that affects potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums, and their vegetable relatives.
Currently FAW has spread to 44 out of 54 countries in sub-Saharan Africa causing losses of $2.2bn to $5.5bn according to Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI)
In Kenya the fall armyworm was first reported in March 2017 in Busia but has since spread to all maize growing areas such as Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Kisii affecting more than 800,000 hectares of maize and wheat according to World Vision at a time when 3.4m Kenyans are staring at starvation due to shortage of food.