Update: The armyworm infestation in the buckwheat fields of Dechenling gewog in Nganglam is controlled, say agriculture officials.

Agriculture extension officer Karma Jamtsho with help from the community sprayed chemicals for days and even hand picked the worms to contain its proliferation.

Although, the infestation has subsidized, officials are still monitoring because the armyworm is unpredictable and could attack crops anytime.

“But the infestation has not spread and damage to crops have been contained,” he said. “We’re hoping it will not spread because villagers would soon start harvesting buckwheat.”

The worms had swarmed about 3.5 acres of buckwheat fields belonging to six households in Bapta chiwog. Karma Jamtsho said they have also kept the chemical in stock for emergency.

A villager first informed about the infestation to the gewog and agriculture extension, which was later confirmed by the National Plant Protection Centre in Thimphu.

Tshogpa Samten Tshewang said after they sprayed the chemical, the impact was immediate and they have not observed any damages to the crops. This is the second time the farmers have battled an armyworm infestation.

Farmers grow buckwheat as a substitute for rice, to brew local alcohol and each household on an average, produces about 70 khaw (1 khaw is about two kg) of buckwheat.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar