Be on the lookout and report signs to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or contact the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Early detection and reporting are key elements in controlling Fall armyworm.

Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is an exotic pest that has been reported for the first time in the Torres Strait in January 2020.

Fall armyworm includes two subpopulations, or strains, that are morphologically indistinguishable but differ in their host plant preference and certain physiological features. Diagnosis by a laboratory is required to identify strain.

• Rice-strain (R strain): feed on rice, millet, pasture grasses.

• Corn-strain (C strain): feed on corn, cotton, sorghum.

The Torres Strait specimens have been identified as R-strain, however, there is potential for the strains to feed on crops other than their preference in times of scarcity.

The C strain has not been reported in Australia.

Fall armyworm is known to feed on more than 350 plant species, including maize, cotton, rice, sorghum, sugarcane, wheat, and many vegetable and fruit crops, and have caused significant economic losses overseas.

Destruction of crops can happen almost overnight when infestation levels are high.

While this pest 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.

Further information, including reporting process, about the pest is available on the website here:

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/agriculture/crop-growing/priority-pest-disease/fall-armyworm