Fall Armyworm update

When was fall armyworm detected in Australia?

Fall armyworm was first detected on two Torres Strait islands in January 2020 and confirmed in early February 2020. The first mainland detection in Australia was at Bamaga in February 2020.

Subsequent detections of fall armyworm have occurred: near Croydon, South Johnstone, Tolga, Lakeland, Mareeba, the Burdekin region and Bowen in North Queensland.
Fall armyworm has also been found in the Northern Territory (Katherine) and Western Australia (Kununurra).

The latest detection is in Bundaberg.


Monday 6th April 2020
For immediate release 


Exotic pest fall armyworm detected in Bundaberg

The exotic pest fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) originally detected in the Torres Strait islands in January of this year has now been detected in the Bundaberg region.

Whilst this finding is not unexpected given the pests’ high mobile activity Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) Managing Director Bree Grima says this detection is cause for concern for the thriving agricultural industry. “This exotic pest has a huge appetite from citrus, mango, melon, sweet corn and cucurbits through to sugar cane” 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” said Ms Grima.

Fall armyworm is a new pest to Australia and the full extent of its preferred host plants is not yet fully understood and potential damage to field grown crops is unclear.

Fact sheets for affected commodities can be found on the Department of Agriculture website and the APVMA has issued certain chemical permits for fall armyworm on the permit portal here.

“Early detection and an integrated pest management approach is essential” said Ms Grima. Fall armyworm can cause significant crop damage depending on the host plant, growers and agronomists are therefore encouraged to regularly check their crops for unusual pest activity. Symptoms of activity can include leaf damage including pinholes and defoliation in addition to small larvae.

Growers are highly encouraged to photograph, and report suspect sightings to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 or by contacting their local biosecurity officer.


For comment contact BFVG Managing Director Bree Grima 0403 616 702

What to look for


To help identify symptoms of fall armyworm, examine plants for:
  • leaf damage, including pinholes, windowing, tattered leaf margins and defoliation of plants
  • tiny larvae, less than 1mm, that are more active at night, eating pinholes and transparent windows in leaves
  • bigger larvae grazing on leaves, stems, trunk and fruit, and leaving behind insect frass (droppings)
  • in monocots, larvae are often in plant whorls (where leaves radiate from or wrap around the stem or stalk (see image 2)
  • regular crop monitoring is essential to avoid undetected crops damage.
If you suspect fall armyworm, report immediately to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23.

Emergency minor use permits

Permit ID Description Date Issued Exp Date Permit Holder LINK
PER89241 Spinetoram (Success Neo or Delegate)/ Fall armyworm/various crops 6/03/20 31/03/23 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89259 Chlorantraniliprole (Coragen, altacor and altacor hort insecticide labels)/ Fall armyworm/various crops 6/03/20 31/03/23 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89263 Emamectin (Proclaim opti insecticide)/Fall armyworm.various crops 10/03/20 31/03/23 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89280 Chlorantraniliprole + Thiamethoxam Durivo insecticide/ Fall armyworm/ various crops as per the registered Durivo label 12/03/20 31/03/23 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89278 Indoxacarb (Avatar insecticide)/Fall armyworm/various crops 13/03/20 31/03/23 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89281 Chlorantraniliprole (Coragen or Altacor hort insecticide)/Fall armyworm/Blueberries and avocados 13/03/20 31/03/23 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89286 Indoxacarb (Provaunt turf insecticide)/Fall armyworm/Turf production 13/03/20 31/03/23 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89284 Spinetoram (Success neo snsecticide)/Fall armyworm/Leek, spring onion, shallot and galangal 16/03/20 31/03/23 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89285 Emamectin (Proclaim opti snecticide)/Fall armyworm/ celery (field) brassica leafy vegetables, leafy beets, silverbeet and spinach (protected cropping), blueberries (field and protected cropping) 16/03/20 31/03/20 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89290 Chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn turf insecticide)/Fall armyworm/Turf production 17/03/20 31/03/20 Hort Innovation PERMIT
PER89279 Various products/various crops/Fall armyworm 11/03/20 31/03/23 Plant Health Aust. PERMIT

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