The Fall Armyworm (FAW), or Spodoptera frugiperda, is an insect that is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. It is regarded as a pest and can damage and destroy a wide variety of crops, which causes large economic damage.

When FAW was first detected?

FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and has quickly spread across virtually all of Sub-Saharan Africa.

In July 2018 it was confirmed in India and Yemen. Because of trade and the moth’s strong flying ability, it has the potential to spread further.

Which crops are susceptible to Fall Armyworm (FAW)?

In the absence of natural control or good management, it can cause significant damage to crops. It prefers maize, but can feed on more than 80 additional species of crops, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton.

Why it is called “armyworm”?

The term “armyworm” is used to describe the large-scale invasive behavior of the species’ larval stage.

Why Fall Armyworm (FAW) is regarded as a dangerous pest?

Two characteristics make it a dangerous pest. First is its ability to spread quickly over vast areas. The adult moth is a fast flyer and can cover 100 km a night and winds are not an impediment.

The second reason that makes FAW dangerous is its reproductive capacity. A single female can lay 600 to 700 eggs. Under African conditions a female is known to lay 1,600 eggs.

Which stage of the insect is damaging?

The larva is the damaging stage of the insect. It generally prefers corn (maize), and can attack millet, vegetables, rice, sugarcane and sorghum.

FAW lifecycle

How Fall Armyworm (FAW) can be controlled?

Introduction of bio-pesticides such as beauveria bassiana, bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and metarhizium anisopliae can stop these pets from spreading.  Integrated pest management methods like summer ploughing, split application of nitrogenous fertilizer, synchronized early sowing and destruction of egg larvae in fields are also usefull.