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Fall Armyworm

Fall Armyworm (FAW), or Spodoptera frugiperda, is an insect that is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. In its larva stage, it can cause significant damage to crops, in not well managed. It prefers maize, but can feed on more than 80 additional species of plants, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton. In Africa, FAW was first detected in Nigeria in January 2016 and has quickly spread across virtually all of sub-Saharan Africa. Because of trade and the moth's strong flying ability, it has the potential to spread further. Farmers will need great support to sustainably manage FAW in their cropping systems through Integrated Pest Management. 

Key facts

  • Fall Armyworm is an insect native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas
  • It was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and has now spread across Sub-Saharan Africa and recently reached Yemen and India
  • In the larval stage, the insect causes damage to crops, feeding on more than 80 plant species
  • FAW primarily affects maize, but also rice and sorghum as well as cotton and some vegetables
  • The moth can fly up to 100 km per night and the female moth can lay up to a total of 1000 eggs in her lifetime
  • In the Americas, farmers have been managing FAW in their crops for many centuries and researches have been studying it for decades
  • Sustainable management practices that are used in the Americas need to be to be adapted to countries’ socio-economic-environmental contexts

For a more profound and up-to-date analysis of the situation concerning the FAW, please go to the FAO

Fall Armyworm website