The fall armyworm has recently been reported in some northern parts of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The pest is being monitored to see its potential impacts on the local agricultural.
The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Since 2016 it has rapidly spread to and throughout Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China and Southeast Asia.
In January, it was identified in areas of northern Queensland (it has now been reported as far south as Richmond, Bowen, Emerald and Bundaberg) and subsequently was identified in areas of the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia (Kununurra and Broome).
The fall armyworm can feed on approximately 350 plant species hosts. While it is currently not present in Australia’s sheep producing regions, adult moths are capable of flying long distances and it is anticipated that the pest will spread south, but it is not known how far and how established it will be during the year.