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Armyworms

 
pollinator
Posts: 450
Location: Western Kenya
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Apparently the whole of Kenya is struggling with an armyworm infestation.  I read in the newspaper that scientists are blaming the unusual weather patterns last year for allowing them to multiply profusely.

My little farm has also been affected, the maize in my 3 sisters plot has been devastated.  Is there a permaculture solution to this problem? My free range chickens and ducks have not helped, probably because the worms are active at night.  Any other ideas?
 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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Is there anything you can do to attract frogs and toads to your property? Here they are mostly nocturnal and I think they'd love to feast on army worms.
 
Posts: 75
Location: Suburbs Salt Lake City, Utah 6a 24 in rain 58 in snow
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Oh my goodness! This is awful! I think you ought to follow Casie's advice, attract predators. Do chickens and ducks eat these? Can you recruit some neighborhood kids to come pick the worms off your plants?

-Laurie
 
Maureen Atsali
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We used to see a lot of toads.  But now that you mention it, I haven't seen a toad in months.  Maybe the ducks wiped out the toads.

I was thinking to go out myself very early in the morning (4am) to try and hand pick them.  I wonder if I could remove enough to make a difference?  

The internet suggested beneficial nematodes and predatory wasps, but I can't get my hands on those things here in rural Kenya.  I also found a brief mention of neem extract, but I have only one baby neem tree.  Time to plant a few more, I think.

The government is suggesting chemicals, of course. But from what I read the chemicals compound the problem, as they also kill the beneficial insects that provide natural biological controls.  So when the next set of eggs hatch after spraying, there is nothing left to resist the worms.  this being the rainy season, I doubt the effectiveness of sprays, as they will likely wash off before the worms feed.
 
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