A new pest semilooper, commonly known as inch worm, has been reported from Kohima and Zunheboto districts of Nagaland.
The pest was found feeding on crops like potato, chilli and beans in about 700 to 800 hactares of crop land.
An official release said the semilooper infestation with high population above the economic threshold level was noticed for the first time in the state.
The pest is presumed to be migratory and its identification this pest is under process, which would take some time, the release said.
It said general control operations against semilooper are being taken to prevent its further spread.
In the event of severe outbreak, there would be destruction of crops which will require alternative crop sowing, it added.
Mechanical control measures and biopesticides such as bacillus thuringiensis, beauveria bassiana and azadirachtin are being used to control the pest to be followed by release of egg parasitoids called trichogramma pretiosum which is produced by the agriculture department’s bio-control laboratory in Medziphema near here.
Besides, plant protection sprays are being used in the affected fields and awareness creation among the farming communities is being undertaken as immediate measures since the agriculture activities are fully exempted from the lockdown provisions.
The ongoing surveillance and monitoring and logistic support to the districts and sub-divisions is provided through the state Agricultural Technology Management Agency programme as interventions in a gap filling mode.
These measures contained the peak period of infection by the pest, thereby reducing the economic losses of the farmers to some extent.
Another exotic and invasive migratory pest called fall army worm was reported in seven villages in Mokokchung district of the state early this month, infesting around 2961.95 hactares of crop land.