Pests and diseases farmers should watch out for

Climate change has made it harder to control pests and diseases and farmers need to be more informed on better ways to control them.

Early detection helps the farmers to prepare on how to protect their plants, but farmers should still be keen to check pests that can destroy plants heavily.

False codling moth

It attacks crops such as capsicum, cotton, citrus and macadamia nuts. It thrives in warm and humid conditions and once it has entered the fruit it's difficult to detect. It can be controlled through proper sanitation, application of insecticides and destroying cultivated hosts. Frequent visits to the farm are encouraged for early detection.

Leaf miner

The small black and yellow insect larva feeds and lives on the leaf tissue of plants. It attacks horticultural crops like tomatoes, beans, peas, and cucurbits.

They can be detected by inspecting the leaves. Although they are resistant to pesticides one can manage them through crop rotation.


They are small white pests that feed on the undersides of plants leaves. They can carry and spread diseases like African cassava mosaic virus, bean golden mosaic virus, tomato yellow curl virus, tomato mottle virus and sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus hence they are greatly destructive.

They sack sap from phloem and excrete honeydew from the plant stems and leaves with their needle-like mouth.

If not contained in time, they cause the plants leaves to turn yellow, wither and later fall off.

They can be contained by reflective mulching that repels them in vegetable gardens and the use of yellow sticky traps.

Destroying infected vegetables after harvest is advisable to control the spread of the pest.

Fruit flies

It attacks fruits like citrus, mango, papaya, guava, cashew, pepper and wild fruits.

They can be controlled by the use of pheromone traps. Proper sanitation and clearing bushes around and near the orchard can help keep the flies away.

Bacteria wilt

It is caused by a soil-borne bacterium that causes the plants leaves, shoots or the whole plant to wither even in moist soils.

It affects tomato, Irish potato, eggplant, pepper, and tobacco. It causes browning and death of the vascular ring and rotting of tubers, causing a foul smell. It is spread by planting infected seeds or plants and farming on infected soils.

Tuta absoluta

It mainly affects tomatoes, potatoes, and common beans. They breed very fast, which can be controlled by the use of the pheromone traps that attract the males.

Clearing nearby bushes as they may act as hiding and breeding sites can help manage them. Always destroy infected crops to manage their spread.

To be steps ahead of the pest and diseases farmers should monitor their plants' growth more frequently to notice outbreaks and remaining pests after control. These pests can be controlled naturally by planting resistant plants and seeds, controlled irrigations and adjusting planting time and crop density.


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