April 9, 2020
The pest Fall Armyworm moth (Spodoptera frugiperda), first detected in the Torres Strait in January, has now made its way to the Bundaberg region.
Larvae can cause significant damage to a range of crops including cotton, maize, sorghum, sugarcane, wheat and a range of vegetables.
The pest is native to tropical and sub-tropical parts of the Americas.
The Fall Armyworm was first detected outside its native range in early 2016 and has since spread to Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China and south-east Asia.
It has been making its way southwards through Queensland since January.
Adult moths can fly long distances.
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) managing director Bree Grima said while the Bundaberg sighting was not unexpected given the pests’ high mobility, the detection was cause for concern for the thriving agricultural industry.
“This exotic pest has a huge appetite for citrus, mango, melon, sweet corn and cucurbits through to sugarcane,” Ms Grima said.
“It’s important to recognise not all crops are affected equally. Melons, for example, do not appear to suffer from crop loss however it is expected that sweetcorn will be most susceptible to damage.”
Growers have been urged to photograph and report suspect sightings to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13-25-23.