African armyworm in the press

The fight against Zambia's armyworm outbreak, Q&A with expert Ken Wilson

The fight against Zambia's armyworm outbreak, Q&A with expert Ken Wilson

Armyworm expert Professor Ken Wilson talks about the African armyworm situation in Zambia to Radio France Internationale's English broadcasting service:

Radio interview (SoundCloud): RFL_English

Fri 30 December 2016

President Lungu acts to curb army worms

ZAMBIA: President Edgar Lungu has directed the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU)under the Office of the Vice-President to join the Ministry of Agriculture in an emergency operation to curb the spread of army worms that have invaded some districts on the Copperbelt, Luapula and Central Provinces. The operation involves among other Government agencies, the Ministry of Agriculture, DMMU and the Zambia Air force (ZAF). The Zambia Air Force has since began to airlift chemicals to Ndola on the Copperbelt, Chinsali in Muchinga Province, Kasama in Northern Province and Chipata in Eastern Province.

Wed 28 December 2016

Army worms invade Copperbelt

ZAMBIA: The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed the Outbreak of Army worms in nine districts on the Copperbelt province. The Ministry has also confirmed the outbreak of Maize Sterm Maggots or larva in Waya Agricultural Camp in Kapiri Mposhi district – Central province. Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Julius Shawa has warned that if the pests are not controlled early, they will lead to huge losses.


Thu 22 December 2016

Nigeria: Quarantine Service Confirms Infestation of Farms in Benue

NIGERIA: Makurdi — The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has confirmed 100 percent infestation of farms by army worms in the three senatorial districts of Benue State. Daily Trust earlier reported the lamentation of maize farmers in the state over this year's harvest occasioned by leaves eating worms which ravaged their entire farms. Head of the NAQS delegation on investigation to the state, acting director John Ogbaje, while briefing the commissioner for Agriculture, James Anbua, on his team's findings in Makurdi, said that maize farms visited were suspected to have been infested by pests known as army worms

Thu 20 October 2016

Africa: Migratory Pests Threaten Food Security

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA: Member states of the International Red Locust Control Organisation for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) are on high alert for the build-up of migratory pests [armyworms and locusts]as the current weather system increases the prevalence of insects. Visiting IRLCO-CSA director, Mr Moses Okhoba, yesterday said migratory pests were of economic importance as they affected the whole region, greatly threatening food security. The pests can wipe out vast swathes of crops and pastures within a short space of time. Mr Okhoba said the 2015-16 rainfall season characterised with intermittent rainfall could allow the build-up of armyworm and locusts. "Migratory pests are a big danger to the economy if not managed well. Because of climate change, the region has seen an upsurge of pests", he said.

The Herald

Wed 16 December 2015

Ghana: Armyworms destroy farms in Mampong, Nkoranza

GHANA: There is an armyworm invasion in the Mampong municipality in the Ashanti Region and Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region. The worms are fast destroying large acres of maize farms and this could pose a challenge to food security in the country if not dealt with immediately. Farmers, whose farms have been invaded by the armyworms, have, accordingly, appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to help contain the situation.

Mon 19 October 2015

Ten animal outbreaks that look like biblical plagues

BBC Earth: From locust swarms 110 miles long to armies of caterpillars (African armyworms) these plagues are what happens when a species runs rampant.

BBC Earth

Fri 11 September 2015


During the dry season (May-October) there are unlikely to be any armyworm outbreaks reported.

Fri 01 May 2015

Zimbabwe: Govt Reacts to Armyworm Outbreak

ZIMBABWE: Government has started distributing chemicals to spray armyworms countrywide as efforts to control the pest intensify, an official said yesterday. In an interview, Plant Protection Research Services Institute deputy director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere said they had already started distributing chemicals in all the country's provinces. "We have started distributing chemicals countrywide and we have enough chemicals in stock. Government has assisted us with about $45 000 to buy chemicals and protective clothing," he said "We have Deltamethrin and Cypermethrin used to control armyworms in pasture grasses because they are less toxic to livestock. We also have Karate and Carbaryl to spray in maize and other crops because they have a long residual effect."

The Herald -

Thu 01 January 2015

Zimbabwe: Armyworm Outbreak in Mbire, Muzarabani Districts

ZIMBABWE: AN armyworm outbreak has been reported in Mbire and Muzarabani, Mashonaland Central Province, where the pest is reported to have destroyed at least 26 hectares of sorghum and pastures. The pest rapidly breeds in wet conditions. In an interview yesterday, Plant Protection Research Institute Deputy director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere, said the first armyworm outbreak this year was reported on December 23 in Mbire. "We recorded the first armyworm outbreak on December 23 in Mbire District where about 22 hectares of pastures and sorghum were destroyed," he said.

The Herald -

Tue 30 December 2014

Zimbabwe: Agronomists meet to fight armyworm

ZIMBABWE: Regional crop specialists have agreed to collaborate in the fight to eradicate armyworm which normally destroys cereal crops between December and March each year. The calls to strengthen ties among SADC member states was made at a Capacity Development for Community-based Armyworm Forecasting on Southern Africa workshop held in Harare yesterday. Crop specialists from Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe attended the workshop which was organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Winfred Hammond, a senior entomologist with FAO, told delegates that armyworm and other transboundary pests could have a devastating effect on the region’s food security if left unchecked. “It is important the region develops an early warning system against threats, facilitate and organise joint technical assistance on armyworm in the region,” Hammond said.

Fri 03 October 2014


During the dry season (May-October) there are unlikely to be any armyworm outbreaks reported.

Thu 01 May 2014

Tanzania: Govt supplies pesticide to combat armyworms

Tanzania: Amid infestation of armyworms destroying food and cash crops in the Northern Zone, the government has distributed 1,507 litres of a pesticide, Deltamethrin 25EC, to hold back the pests' spread. In an interview with 'Daily News', Assistant Director of Plant Health Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr Cornelius Nkondo, said the government will disburse an additional 500 litres of the pesticide to three regions of Manyara, Arusha and Kilimanjaro.

Daily News

Wed 16 April 2014

TANZANIA: Take Armyworm Warning Seriously

TANZANIA: An alert has been issued of the imminent invasion of the dreaded African armyworm. Preliminary reports say nine regions in the country are threatened with attack by the voracious pest. According to a spokesman of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives Richard Kasuga, so far the armyworms have been spotted in Mtwara, Lindi, Mbeya, Morogoro, Dodoma, Tanga, Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Coast regions. Several of the mentioned regions are also among those currently facing some level of deficit in food stocks and need every kilo to improve the situation. Source: The Guardian.

Thu 27 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Armyworm Wreaks Havoc in Manicaland

ZIMBABWE: AT least 15 hectares of rapoko and sorghum have been destroyed by armyworms across the country, a senior official has said. In an interview, Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) head Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere said the worm predominantly affected crops in Nyamaropa, Chimanimani, Birchenough Bridge and Masvingo. "The problem was attributed to the dry spell that the country was experiencing over the past two weeks creating conditions that promoted the reproduction of the armyworms.

Sat 15 March 2014

SOUTH AFRICA: Armyworm outbreak alert

Farmers are advised to inspect their lands for armyworm infestations after an outbreak was reported in the Klipdrif area of the Potchefstroom district.

Marthinus Beytell farms some 20km from Potchefstroom and has lost about 50% of a 70ha camp of natural grazing virtually overnight.

"Three or four days ago the veld looked fantastic, but so far we've lost the bulk of grazing. Our neighbours also reported serious infestations", he said.

Farmer's Weekly

Tue 25 February 2014

Southern Africa: Crop-eating pests plague southern African farmers

Southern Africa: The rainy season, always welcome in often dry southern Africa, has brought with it favourable breeding conditions for army worms and red locusts. The crop-eating pests are contributing to the woes of subsistence farmers already struggling to recover from setbacks in the last farming cycle.

In Zimbabwe, where the World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 2.2 million people now require food assistance, more than 800 hectares of cereal grain crops and 300 hectares of pasture have been destroyed by outbreaks of army worms.


Fri 07 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Armyworm outbreak hits Manicaland

ZIMBABWE: An armyworm scare has hit parts of Manicaland, with a sizeable hectarage of the staple maize crop and green pastures suffering severe attacks from the devastating caterpillars.

Manica Post

Fri 31 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Rains Control Armyworm Outbreak

ZIMBABWE: The current heavy rains have helped reduce army worm damage to crops and pastures, the Plant Protection Research Institute has said. Head of the PPRI Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere said the recent army worm attacks in Mashonaland Central and Midlands did not have severe effects as the infestation was washed away by the rains.

Fri 10 January 2014

AUSTRALIA: Tasmanian farmers warned of (southern) armyworm threat - UPDATE

UPDATE: Reported outbreak of armyworm in Tanzania or not African armyworms but Southern armyworms (Persectania ewingii) - thanks to Lionel Hill, Catherine Byrne and others for clarifying this.

Australia: Tasmanian farmers are being warned to watch for a hungry bug that poses a threat to their crops.

The Primary Industries Department says armyworm caterpillars were spotted in barley and grass in the state's north-west around Christmas.

ABC News

Thu 09 January 2014