Every farmer hopes to harvest fresh and healthy crops after the planting season but Mr. Ajani ran back home with more loss than he could handle. At the beginning of the planting season, our diligent farmer had put in all efforts to make sure he got rid of all pests on his farmland, yet his enemies still hunted him down. This article is written to help farmers like Mr. Ajani identify common maize crop pests, prevent, and control them.
Corn Earworms (Helicoverpa zea)
Battling maize crop pests is a tough ride for farmers. As the plant grows, moths which develops into young caterpillar then adult insects deposit eggs on the silk and begin to feed on the tip of the corn ear till it finds its way into the husk. Once it has gotten in, it is almost impossible to notice its presence until it has done major damage to the crop. This pest is commonly found on maize farms but also affects cotton and tomatoes crops.
However, if your farm is properly attended to and checked often, you can quickly detect the presence of maize crop pests and prevent them from invading your farm. These insects can be prevented from getting into the husk and destroying the kernel by simply covering the silk or applying mineral oil around the ear of the corn. To chemically control earworm, Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) or Entrust Sc can be applied.
Birds are usually attracted to grains, therefore, you must, by all means, keep them out of your farm. Since you can’t possibly sit at your farm all day to scare the birds away, a common method employed by farmers is the use of scarecrows. Scarecrows should be creatively designed using light clothing that can move in the direction of the wind and their position should be changed frequently to prevent the birds from getting accustomed to them being in a particular spot. The psychology behind the scarecrows is that their movement will scare birds away since they’ll assume that they are humans and capable of capturing them.
Maize Weevil (Sitophilus zeamais)
Apart from maize, this pest also infests other stored grains and processed cereal products including rice, cassava, macaroni, and more. Maize Weevil breeds best on the maize farm before it is harvested or processed; detection of the presence of this pest is difficult since the larvae feast only on the inside of the grains. Maize is an edible crop so it is better to prevent rather than control the Maize Weevil since the only control mechanism is fumigation. You can prevent maize crop pests by harvesting your maize immediately they mature, store them in a clean area, and keep them dry always.
Beware, when you notice some damage to the leaves of your plant, your farm might be invaded by pests and you need to act fast before you run at a loss like Mr. Ajani.