Points to note

  • The action that should be taken as a control measure should be guided by the extent of the fall army worm infestation.
  • It is also important to record the number of plants that have signs of fall army worms.
  • These pests tend to cause more crop damage at the early growth stage of the plant.
  • Controlling the caterpillars while they are few helps in effective management of the pest
  • It is important to note that if you encounter egg masses during monitoring, they should be removed and crushed to prevent them from hatching to larva which is the most dangerous stage.
  • The best and most effective strategy for managing fall Army worms is taking preventive measures and immediate action when the fall army worm is detected.


Control Measures at different stages of plant growth.

During early growth when infested plants are less than ten out of 50.

The best control measure you can use is to handpick the fall armyworms and crush or use other verified cultural methods.


During early growth when infested plants are more than 10 out of 50.

The best control measures you can use are:

  • to handpick the fall armyworm and crush,
  • use verified cultural control options
  • or use chemicals (bio-pesticides)


During late growth when the infested plants are less than 20 out of 50.

The best control measures you can use are:

  • To handpick and crush
  • Use verified cultural methods


During late growth when infested plants are more than 20 out of 50.

The best control measures you can use are:

  • To Handpick and crush,
  • use cultural controls
  • or chemicals (bio- pesticides).

Moreover, be sure to leave a 21-day pre harvest interval.


Control Options

Non-chemical/cultural control measures

There are various non- chemical/cultural measures that can be taken to control fall army worms.

  1. If you find egg masses on the upper or lower side of the leaf, crush all the egg masses.
  2. It is also essential to handpick and crush any larvae fall army worm that you may come across to prevent mating, laying of eggs and the multiplication of the pest.
  3. You can also handpick a fall army worm caterpillar and drown it in soapy water.
  4. Put crushed/ground chilies, wood ash, soapy water and sand in the funnel (where fall army worms mainly hide) to suffocate them.
  5. Crush neem leaves/seeds and mix with water then apply to the crop.
  6. Destroy the eggs, larvae, and pupae in the crop residues after harvest by deep burying the plant residues in soil (at least 12cm deep)
  7. Practice crop rotation by alternating maize with crops that are not attacked by fall Army Worm (non-host plants). For instance, cassava
  8. Intercropping with pigeon pea, beans, groundnuts can attract more beneficial insects and also help repel fall army worms from your garden and control weeds.
  9. If you notice the number of eggs or caterpillars are few, handpick and crush them. (Mainly applicable for small farms/gardens or few affected plants)
  10. FAW is food for certain birds and insects. Thus, growing trees, hedgerows and a variety of crops in the garden helps increase the number of these predators that can feed on the FAW and help reduce on infestation in the farm.
  11. Early planting to avoid the periods of high pest densities. This goes hand in hand with good soil preparation that will affect the pupae in the soil.
  12. It is also advisable to burn stubbles and cuttings after harvesting on infested fields that will help kill unhatched eggs, larvae, pupae, and larvae that are left on the field after harvest.
  13. Regular and early visual inspection of the farm will help detect the pest’s presence.


Chemical controls


Active ingredients Recommended pesticide brands Mode of action
Gammacyhalothrin Vantex 60CS


Alpha- Cypermethrin Bestox 20EC,

Navigator 100EC




Belt 480c




Coragen 20SC,





Duduthrin Karate




Merit 150SC,





Lotus 75% SP,

Ortran 97,

Orthene pellet




Marshall 250EC


Abamectin +



Voliam Targo 063




Heritage 5%,

Legacy, Match


Spinetoram 120 g/l


Radiant 120 Sc





Spraying chemicals on Fall Army worm

  • Pesticides are effective when applied early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • When applying contact pesticides it is important to target the maize funnel
  • When applying systemic pesticides it is important to target the leaves.
  • Chemicals take time to work on Fall Army worm caterpillars thus, be patient and check for fresh signs after two weeks.
  • It may take up to two sprays to control the Fall Army worm on the crop to a level where the infestation is manageable.
  • Don’t use different chemicals to control Fall Army worms during the same season.
  • If you want to change the pesticide used, make sure you use one with a different active ingredient.
  • To prevent Fall Army worms from becoming resistant to pesticides, it is advisable to ask the extension service provider for advice on active ingredients.


Guidelines and good practices when using pesticides

  • Do not use more than the dose rate indicated on the pesticide label
  • It is economical, more effective and safer to apply chemicals using a knapsack sprayer.
  • It is also effective to use proper personal protection and equipment.
  • Keep records of pesticides used, their application and dose.
  • Always wait for the advised pre-entry period before re-entering the field after spraying.
  • Only use recommended chemicals and seek advice from professionals like the agricultural extension service provider in the area.
  • Never attempt to use battery acid or paraffin to control Fall Armyworms as it will affect the crops and pose a threat to livestock and humans.
  • Never attempt to mix pesticides unless instructed that way. The mixture can easily harm the crops and lead to fall armyworm resistance against certain pesticide products.
  • When using a knapsack it is important to use the correct nozzle to ensure effective delivery of the chemical.

With any control measure that you may use, make sure to be careful to ensure it doesn’t pose a risk to your health or others in the vicinity.