More army worm attacks reported in Pangasinan farms
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Farms in two more Pangasinan towns and Alaminos City have been attacked by army worms, an agriculture official said here on Thursday.
But Nestor Batalla, assistant provincial agriculturist, said the army worm invasion in Bani town and Alaminos City had been contained.
The worm attack in Burgos town was being monitored, he said.
“In Bani and Alaminos, only spots of the farms were attacked. We are confident that we will be able to control the infestation in Burgos,” he said.
On Wednesday, army worms destroyed rice fields of Agno and Mabini towns, devouring newly planted rice in some 150 hectares of farm, he said.
The worms also destroyed at least 80 cavans of seedbeds in Mabini.
But Batalla said there was no cause for alarm because army worms could easily be controlled.
He said the invasion may have been an offshoot of the three-week monsoon rain that flooded western Pangasinan towns and destroyed the worms’ habitat.
“With their habitat destroyed, they have to look for food. So, here they are,” he said.
He said Gov. Amado Espino Jr. had ordered his office to extend every assistance to affected farmers, including rice seeds that they would need for replanting.
Agriculture technicians met farmers’ groups in the province for refresher discussions on good farm management practices to prevent infestation.
Batalla said it was important that farms’ surroundings were cleared of cogon grass and irrigation of the crops should be maintained.
“It is also important that they do not apply excessive fertilizer because this makes a plant very green, attracting pests,” he said.
Army worms are nocturnal insects, coming out of the soil from late afternoon and attacking the rice plant stems or leaves.
According to the International Rice Research Institute’s Knowledge Bank website, an army worm is a caterpillar that attacks rice. “A single army worm egg mass contains hundreds of eggs. Each female worm lays 800 to 1,000 eggs during its lifetime of about one week,” it said. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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