By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

Armyworms are caterpillars that feast on maize, rice, and sugarcane. Many farmers are trying to stop these pests from devastating their crops.

Fortunately, experts have discovered that the solution lies in the use of safer pesticides. Since some pesticides have harmful components that risk severe harm to human health and the environment, sustainable alternatives were studied rather than chemical ones.

Through a comprehensive study of biopesticides, scientists identified eight alternatives to chemical pesticides that have the potential to control the caterpillars. The study, funded by the German and UK governments, was published in the Journal of Applied Entomology.

A criteria was set out for these biopesticides to determine if it help address the pest problem. Researched judged the variables according to six standards which includes effectivity, safety, environmental sustainability, availability, and practicality for the use of farmers.

In order to encourage more farmers to switch to safer means in preserving their crops, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has developed a framework that gives more emphasis to alternatives to pesticides.

The use of safer alternatives to pesticides will provide a safer environment for both beneficial insects and humans. It will also result in chemical-free produce for consumption.

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