The Vetiver Network International

Pest control

Vetiver System for Pest Control

Vetiver grass is turning out to be a very useful means of controlling some crop pests especially stem borers that damage maize, sorghum and rice.  One suspects that many farmers that grow these crops in the vicinity of vetiver do not realize the benefits that come from vetiver!

Vetiver is also hosts to many beneficial insects including parasitoidal wasps. These wasps kill sucking insects on nearby crops, as in the case of coffee, and white fly on vegetables.

Figure 1 Push -pull system uses vetiver to attract, trap and kill stem borer of maize and rice (Johnnie Van den Berg).
Figure 2 Percentage of Chilo partellus (maize stem borer) larvae on maize, vetiver and Napier grass, 2 days after egg hatch

Extensive research by Johnnie Van den Berg (South Africa) and  LÜ Zhong-xian (China) into stem borer control in maize and rice respectively has led the way to its adoption by farmers. An interesting aspect is that some of the stem borer moths are by preference attracted to vetiver, where they lay their eggs. The young larvae feeding on the vetiver is then dies due a chemical in vetiver that destroys the digestive enzymes of the stem borer larvae.

In some instances agricultural extension agents are persuaded by the pesticide companies not to promote vetiver for this purpose as it reduces pesticide sales and remittances to extension workers. This problem is not new to vetiver as similar roadblocks are put up against other VS applications.

Can Vetiver Grass be Used to Manage Insect Pests on Crops? SA_stem borer.pdf (

Vetiver for Stem Borer Control Rice  VETIVER FOR STEM BORER CONTROL OF RICE