Chapter 2. Fall Armyworm Scouting, Action Thresholds, and Monitoring
This chapter describes several methods for detection of FAW and the use of the FAW incidence data in
making treatment decisions (which may sometimes include the decision not to treat). FAW incidence (pest
pressure) is one component of the decision-making process. Risk of crop loss is the result of the interaction
between pest pressure, plant growth stage, and environmental conditions.
Scouting is covered first because scouting can be readily done by farmers and most directly affects their
treatment decisions. Monitoring data complement field-level scouting data and inform crop management
decisions. Detailed background information on these topics is followed by protocols for scouting and
pheromone trap setup. The information in this chapter should be immediately useful to agricultural
professionals (extension, development organization, and private-sector personnel) who advise smallholder
farmers, as well as to village-level progressive farmers. It may also be of general interest to technical specialists
and policymakers who develop and coordinate local, national, and regional FAW management programs.
We recognize that not all smallholder farmers will formally scout their maize fields. But we recommend
that even smallholder farmers use a simplified scouting method to assess the risk of crop damage by
FAW before making a control decision. Introducing farmers to scouting protocols, Action Thresholds, and
decision support tools such as monitoring provides them with valuable crop management information and
will help them develop the skills to more effectively manage pests. Cost-effective management of FAW
requires that pest management decision makers consider the pest pressure, the maize growth stage, and
the weather, regardless of whether they formally scout their fields.
Finally, we recommend that researchers and pesticide regulators who test the efficacy of interventions for
FAW control use a standardized scouting protocol (see Chapter 3) in addition to rating plant damage and
yield. Scouting data used in combination with a plant damage rating system and yield data provides a more
robust assessment of efficacy