Armyworms are some of the most destructive crop-eaters on the continent of Africa. They are invasive and were first reported in 2016. Farmers from across the continent, including South Africa, are fighting this pest.
Below, we look at the top worst pests in Africa and how to get rid of them.
What Percentage of Crops Do We Lose because of Pests?
Climate change is exacerbating this problem. The above percentage is conservative. Some insect invasions destroy entire crops – almost 80% to 100%!
Listed Here Are the Worst Pests Affecting the Agricultural Sector in Africa:
1. Cereal Damaging Insects
Africa’s staple food source includes maize, sorghum, wheat, and rice. Maize is without doubt the largest staple and prolifically grown crop in Africa. Of the 1 billion people in Sub-Saharan Africa, 300 million people rely on maize as their staple diet.
Pest damage to maize is severe. Destructive pests include lepidopteran stem borers, Chilo partellus Swinhoe, and Busseola Fusca.
The spotted stalk borer insect (Chilo Partellus) causes damage of up to 100% for farmers in many countries. The percentage of damage depends on the region, type of maize crop, and the seasons. Countries experiencing Chilo Partellus damage include:
How Vulnerable Are Root Crops in South Africa?
Although South Africa is not a major producer of cassava, we produce it on some farms.
- Africa produces over 23 million hectares of root crops each year. Africa produces root crops such as cassava, potatoes, yams and sweet potato. Almost 240 million tons. Almost 1 billion Africans consume cassava, a root of a tropical tree.
- The crop is heat resistant but vulnerable to pests. Gennadius (the sweet potato white fly) is the #1 pest that causes the most damage to cassava. They behave differently to stem borers. Potato white flies feed from the sap of the plant and spread cassava plant disease.
- Diseases the potato white fly spread is the cassava mosaic virus. Other diseases include the spreading of the cassava brown stream disease. Crop producers have reported entire crop failure. These losses occur in Central and East Africa. Crop losses add up to billions of dollars.
What Pests Affect Legume Crops in South Africa?
People throughout Africa consume large amounts of legumes. Common legumes consumed throughout the continent include cowpeas and beans. They are a brilliant source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. 200 million Africans consume cowpeas.
The #1 pest infestation destroying cowpeas is the pod borer. This insect destroys up to 80% of crops in some African countries. Countries affected by this pest are Niger, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. All 3 are primary cowpea producers.
Several pests have a negative impact on this important food supply. These are:
Why is Food Security in Africa Affected by Destructive Pests?
The International Centre of Insect Psychology has pumped billions into researching food security. This is right across the continent of Africa. The effect of pest activity on crops is a real problem. It is causing massive economic losses.
As climate change becomes a genuine issue, so does the activity of pests and insects. Effective controls, such as new crop varietals, are being investigated. These are plants resilient to destructive pests like the lepidopteran stem borers.
Learn more about pests we exterminate
These Are Only Some of the Worst Pests in South Africa
The above pests are only a handful of the worst pests in South Africa. All the above affect crops. There are other pests that also cause damage to pests.
- As weather patterns change, pests develop a resistance to chemicals used in pesticides.
- As climates and economies change, pests inhabit new areas. This often results in food instability.
- As Southern Africa stabilises after the pandemic, there are other issues to consider. We are all familiar with brown locusts and the devastation they cause. There are other pests that have a negative effect on crop productivity.
- The most effective way of controlling pests is to eradicate them. This should happen in their early stages of development. African countries need to improve on monitoring invasive insects. A good example is the fall armyworm.
Call Mostert Pest Control Services for Advice
If you worry about pest invasions, contact your nearest Mostert Pest Control Service. We are professionals ready to devise a plan. We are here to install the best preventative and long-term pest eradication plans. Find out everything you need to know to understand your pest issues.
Our team of trained specialists will devise an environmentally friendly plan. This will help keep you safe and pest-free.