Muzhukeer: Around 500 hectares of paddy fields at Muzhukeer village in Chengannur in Alappuzha district is on verge of destruction due to invasion of army worm moths.

This has lent a severe blow to the farmers who were reeling under severe water shortage.  After the seed was sown, the farmers did not get water due to damage to the canal which used to fetch water to the agricultural land here.

Recently, the worms were spotted in Thazhakkara near here. The menace is also reported from Kolidathussery, Muzhukeer and Umayattukara in the municipality region.

ArmywormThe worm, also known by the name spodoptera frugiperda, is regarded as a pest that can wreak havoc with crops if left to multiply. Its name is derived from its feeding habits. They will eat everything in an area, and once the food supply is exhausted, the entire "army" will move to the next available food source.  

The worms are known to multiply very quickly and due to this nature, the farmers in nearby Vanavathukkara, Iramallikkara and Thiruvanvandoor are in a state of panic.

The infestation has been reported to Principal Agriculture officer. Chengannur agri officer K Rajendra Prasad said that normally, if such infestations occur, the farmers used to fill the region with water. But since there is no water supply, this idea will not work out this time, he added. Using pesticide will also not eliminate the moth, the officer said.