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Home Farming Tips How To Control The Deadly Stalk Borer 

How To Control The Deadly Stalk Borer 

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Joshua Kato

Deadly Stalk Borer is the biggest threat to maize plants, however, it can be controlled if measures are taken. 

Here is what to do;

-Leave the maize shamba bare for at least three months after harvesting. This will destroy all remaining pests.  

-Pesticides are a remedy but various agro-dealers have adulterated the pesticides which has rendered them ineffective.

– It is better for farmers to produce off-season when there is no pollen grain around to contaminate the gardens. 

 -Farmers need to plant maize early in the season so that the maize passes the most preferred stage of the caterpillar. Caterpillars attack maize late in the season as the rains reduce. However, if a farmer planted early, by the time the caterpillars strike, the maize will be mature enough. 

-Crop rotation with non-host crops (non-cereals) can also help. Plant maize and cowpeas in the same garden to reduce the population of caterpillars, since most of them may opt for the cowpeas. 

-Use a pull-push strategy too; in between maize rows plant desmodium to repel stalk borers from the maize.

 -Plant Napier grass along the borders of the maize as a trap crop to pull stalk borers away from the maize. The stalk borer comes from a moth. It lays eggs on the maize plant that turn into larva in 5 days. The larva remains in the maize for 22 days as it eats away the stem. It will then turn into a pupa and then a moth that lays eggs again. It is a very deadly cycle for the maize plant.  

The main purpose of planting Napier grass with maize is because it helps control the stalk borer. A stalk borer gets into the maize plant by laying eggs on the maize plant leaves. They then go through the entire gestation process until they hatch. The most dangerous stage of this process is the larvae stage because this is when they start feeding on the maize plant. 

However, scientific research has proved that if you have both maize and napier leaves in the same environment, the borer will choose the Napier leaves to lay their eggs. 

-But what the borer does not know is that the Napier plant has a sticky substance inside, which traps the borer inside. In the process, very few larvae survive, hence the maize is saved. For effectiveness, plant the Napier plant surrounding the maize plot. 

-It is also advisable to plant the napkin earlier than the maize so that it is more mature. Plant at least three rows of napier. 

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