Maize kernel contains a large quantity of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, oils, fats and competes favorably with root and tuber crops as a rich energy source. In Uganda, the per capita consumption ranges from 28 to 125 kg per annum. However, the yields remain low, fluctuating around 1.5 tons per hectare. Although some losses to maize production occur through the post-harvest period, pre-harvest factors such as biotic and abiotic constraints significantly affect its production. The most important biotic constraints include pests and diseases. Among the pests, Lepidopterans such as the fall armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda JE Smith) has become an important pest of maize during the early growing stages of the crop. Yet there is no information on the destructive levels of this pest in maize fields and this hinders management options for this pest. To determine the incidence, severity and prevalence of the FAW which may be responsible for low yields and poor maize quality, a survey was carried out in Bulambuli district in Uganda. Forty fields were sampled in Bwinkhonge Sub County to determine the level of damage caused by this pest. The severity of damage on leaves (df = 9, χ2 = 87.66, P = 0.000*) ears (df = 9, χ2 = 299.2, P = 0.000*) and kernels (df = 7, χ2 = 19.9, P = 0.005*) was high and significantly different in two parishes surveyed.
Key words: Larvae, incidence, pests, damage.
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