Specialist entomologists are studying the native eldana borer in Sierra Leone in order to maintain an effective organic method of controlling these pests. The first phase is to set up light traps to capture the insects so that they can be carefully studied in their local environment.
Longterm, the company is introducing an integrated pest management (IPM) program, using the Push-pull methodology. Push plants give off volatile chemicals that discourage the moth from laying her eggs in the cane, and which also attract their natural enemies into the crop lands. At the same time, indigenous pull plants are planted in wetlands – the original habitat of the insect – and in field contours to entice the female to lay her eggs there instead. When lured back to their indigenous host plants in wetlands, the pest is more accessible to its natural enemies, and populations can be controlled naturally.