African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta)
It is an occasional but seriously destructive pest on teff in Ethiopia. It causes serious damage to young plants in years of armyworm outbreaks. The caterpillars feed on the leaves eating them down to the midrib. Outbreaks usually start during May in the southern provinces of Ethiopia. During the main growing season they move northwards.
- Monitor regularly field margins, low areas where plants have lodged, beneath plant debris around the base of plants, on the ground, and underneath the plant leaves. Check daily young crops if conditions are known to be favourable to the pest.
- Spray Bt or botanicals such as neem and pyrethrum extracts. Spray when caterpillars are small. Once caterpillars are mature (about 3 to 3.5 cm long) they may have cause serious damage and it may no longer be economical to treat the crop. For more information on neem click here, for pyrethrum click here and for Bt click here
- Conserve and encourage natural enemies. For more information on natural enemies click here
- Practise field sanitation. For more information on field sanitation click here