We provide up to date information on both the endemic African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) and the new invasive Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) – both of which are important pests of staple crops and pasture grasses in sub-Saharan Africa.
Resources available on this website include the latest armyworm forecasts, press reports of armyworm outbreaks, photos, videos, publications, and lots of useful information on the biology, ecology and control of these important African crop pests.
The African armyworm moth, Spodoptera exempta is endemic to Africa, where it is one of the most devastating crop pests, especially on the eastern side of the continent.
Like the infamous desert locust it is highly migratory and outbreaks are difficult to predict.
The Fall armyworm moth, Spodoptera frugiperda is one of the most devastating crop pests in the Americas, where it originates.
It was first reported in Africa in January 2016 and has since spread from West Africa to Eastern and Southern Africa.
The two armyworm species now in Africa, the African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) and the Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) are superficially very similar to each other, but they differ is a number of important respects, both in terms of how they look and how they behave.
African armyworms play host to a highly specific baculovirus: SpexNPV. The invasive Fall armyworm also hosts a specific baculovirus: SfMNPV.
Ongoing research on the biology, ecology and genetics of SpexNPV is investigating the potential of SpexNPV to be commercialised as a microbial pesticide against African armyworms. In the Americas, SfMNPV is already registered as a biopesticide but it is not yet registered in Africa.
Ken has spent much of the last 20 years working in Africa, studying aspects of insect crop pest control and especially the use of parasites, such as baculoviruses, as biological pest control agents.