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Maize production in Benin, especially in resource-poor farmers' fields, is constrained by stemborers among other factors. One of the major stemborers in southern Benin is Sesamia calamistis Hampson (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). African farmers cannot afford to use commercial insecticides for controlling stemborers - they are expensive and unsuitable for durable pest management systems due to eco-toxicity. There is therefore a need for cheaper and environmentally friendly methods and botanicals offer an attractive alternative. The bushmint, Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit. (Lamiales: Lamiaceae), was compared with the commercial insecticide Furadan (carbofuran) for the control of S. calamistis on maize Zea mays L. (Poales: Poaceae). Trials were conducted in the screenhouse and in the field during the minor cropping season in 2004 at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)-Benin station. The variables measured included numbers of egg masses per plant, eggs per egg mass (in the screenhouse study), population density of S. calamistis, percentage of infested plants and/or ears, and deadhearts in the field. Irrespective of the variable considered, the aqueous extract of H. suaveolens compared favorably with Furadan while maize surrounded by live H. suaveolens plants had lower S. calamistis densities.
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