Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a common pest in the Western Hemisphere affecting many commercial crops, most importantly maize. This voracious Lepidoptera (grouping of insects that includes butterflies and moths) was first detected in Central and Western Africa in 2016 and has quickly spread throughout the continent. Fall armyworms thrive in tropical and sub-tropical climates but also spread to colder areas after overwintering in areas without severe freezes. Adult moths spread quickly via strong winds (Capinera 2005). 

Thousands of hectares of cropland have been affected in Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Western Kenya and Tanzania (Organic Farmer 2017). Field corn and sweet corn account for most of the economically significant losses, but sorghum, cotton, millet, peanut, rice, soybean, sugarcane, and wheat are susceptible, thus affecting both incomes and food security. The situation is so dire for smallholder farmers in Malawi that President Mutharika declared a state of disaster and mobilized government agencies to assist farmers and subsidize pesticides. Crops in Malawi most affected are maize, sorghum, and millet (Mumbere and Mtuwa 2017). 


  1. 2018-04-27 Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a common pest in the Western Hemisphere affecting many commercial crops, most importantly maize. This voracious Lepidoptera (grouping of insects that includes butterflies and moths) was first detected in Central and Western Africa in 2016 and has quickly...
  2. In the Push-Pull system, crops that repel pests and/or attract pests’ predators are intercropped with maize, to ‘push’ pests away from the main crop. Plants that attract pests are planted around the field, to ‘pull’ pests away from the maize. Incorporating legumes in this system means that soil...
  3. AccessAgriculture Training Video By making best use of farmers’ friends and local plants on the farm, nature will help you control the fall armyworm and reward you with a good and healthy crop. Amharic Arabic Bangla Chichewa English French Hindi Kiembu Kiswahili Portuguese Spanish Tamil Tumbuka...
  4. 2018-08-15 The Fall Armyworm is an insect that can damage your maize plants or even cause you to lose your whole maize crop. The best way to protect your maize crop is to scout early and treat early. In this animation, we will explain how to scout for the fall armyworm, so you can take action to protect...
  5. Abstract, 2018, Outlooks on Pest Management Fall armyworm (FAW)Spodoptera frugiperdainvaded Africa, with the first detections being reported in Central and Western Africa in early 2016, and now affects at least 40 countries in Africa, causing up to total crop loss amounting to over $6.2 billion...
  6. The fall armyworm is a heavy feeder that quickly destroys the maize crop. It can destroy an entire crop if it is not controlled on time. It can spread fast, and can fly over 30 kilometres in one night assisted by the wind. The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) derives the name from its’...
  7. 2018-11-13 The Fall Armyworm pest on the Africa continent has dire consequences for food security, especially in countries with heavy reliance on single staple crops susceptible to its effects. In Malawi, where 60% of calories come from maize, Fall Armyworm is devastating. While externally-driven and...
  8. Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), FAW, is an insect native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Its larval stage (photo) feeds on more than 80 plant species, including maize, rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton. FAW can cause significant yield losses...
  9. Highlights • Fall armyworm has invaded Africa, causing substantial damage to maize and other crops. • There is no control method for this pest in Africa, and pesticides are only minimally used in the continent. • Climate-adapted push-pull technology overcomes stemborers, some of which belong to...
  10. Abstract, 2017, Journal of Integrated Pest Management The fall armyworm,Spodoptera frugiperda(J. E. Smith 1797) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is the most important corn pest in South America. Larvae feed mostly on leaves, but also ears when population densities are high. This pest has been...
  11. 2018-01-20 This FAW IPM Guide is designed for use by professionals in plant protection organizations, extension agencies, research institutions, and Governments, whose primary focus is smallholder farmers and the seed systems that support them. The FAW IPM Guide is meant to provide an important foundation...
  12. 2018-04-20 The introduction of Fall Armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda) to Africa in 2016 has raised concerns of possible widespread damage of maize and other crops. Stalk borers are a common pest of maize throughout Africa, causing modest damage virtually every year. Armyworms, on the other hand, can...