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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.

African armyworms on vegetation

What is the African armyworm?

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.

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African armyworms on vegetation

What is the Fall armyworm?

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.

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An African armyworm on crops

How do the two species differ?

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.

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Harvesting infected armyworms

Biological control

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.

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The latest new and videos on African and Fall armyworm research

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Forecasts of African and Fall armyworm outbreaks in Africa

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Press reports

Armyworm news and research in the press

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Selected publications around armyworm research

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Contact us

How to get in touch

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