Mbale confirms outbreak of Armyworms

Fall Armyworm
Invasive pest armyworm rapidly spreading across Uganda

Fall Armyworms are ravaging maize gardens in Mbale District. Peter Julius Ayo, the Agriculture Officer Mbale District, says the worms have been reported in nine Sub counties.

The most affected are Bungokho, Namabasa, Bubobi, Bumasik, Busiu, Nyondo and Busoba Sub counties. According to Ayo, the worms were first detected in Mbale Industrial area two weeks ago.

He says during his visit to the affected sub counties he also discovered that some maize plants are affected by the Maize Stock Borer. Ayo says he has instructed sub county agriculture officers to advise farmers to buy pesticides to kill the pest.

He asks the farmers to use Dimethioate (Taff go), Dimethirin and Cypermethrin to spray their plantations. Eric Masaba, a farmer from Bungokho Sub County, says army worms have destroyed his half acre of maize garden.

Masaba says he has tried to spray the maize garden, but the pests are resistant. Julius Wamanga, a resident of Busiu sub-county says he has lost his three acre maize garden to the army worms.

According to Wamanga, he sprayed the garden but, but the pests have continued destroying the maize. Immaculate Nakami, a resident of Manyonyi village in Bingokho Sub County has called upon government to come to their rescue.

Nakami says the army worms invaded her maize plantation three days ago and have spread to the entire garden.

The current rainfall pattern in the affected areas has helped the fall army worms to thrive on. The rainfall has been on and off creating a conducive atmosphere for them to lay eggs when it is hot.

The International Institute For Tropical Agriculture (IITA) recommends application of insecticides such as pyrethroids, carbamates, and organophosphates as an immediate measure.

It says early detection is essential, as the application of chemical insecticides is only efficient in young larval stages.