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 BundabergThe 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

Target Crops

Based on overseas experience, fall armyworm larvae can cause significant crop damage if left unchecked.
Adults can fly long distances and migrate quickly, particularly with the aid of weather patterns and jet streams. It is important to check crops regularly to detect the early stages of infestation.

WheatFall armyworm can infest vegetable crops including capsicum, chilli, tomato, pumpkins, cucumber, beans, eggplant and other vegetables.


QLD fall armyworm crop resources >>

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.

If you suspect fall armyworm, report immediately to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23.

Emergency minor use permits

Permit IDDescriptionDate IssuedExp DatePermit HolderLINK
PER89241Spinetoram (Success Neo or Delegate)/ Fall armyworm/various crops6/03/2031/03/23Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89259Chlorantraniliprole (Coragen, altacor and altacor hort insecticide labels)/ Fall armyworm/various crops6/03/2031/03/23Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89263Emamectin (Proclaim opti insecticide)/Fall armyworm.various crops10/03/2031/03/23Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89280Chlorantraniliprole + Thiamethoxam Durivo insecticide/ Fall armyworm/ various crops as per the registered Durivo label12/03/2031/03/23Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89278Indoxacarb (Avatar insecticide)/Fall armyworm/various crops13/03/2031/03/23Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89281Chlorantraniliprole (Coragen or Altacor hort insecticide)/Fall armyworm/Blueberries and avocados13/03/2031/03/23Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89286Indoxacarb (Provaunt turf insecticide)/Fall armyworm/Turf production13/03/2031/03/23Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89284Spinetoram (Success neo snsecticide)/Fall armyworm/Leek, spring onion, shallot and galangal16/03/2031/03/23Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89285Emamectin (Proclaim opti snecticide)/Fall armyworm/ celery (field) brassica leafy vegetables, leafy beets, silverbeet and spinach (protected cropping), blueberries (field and protected cropping)16/03/2031/03/20Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89290Chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn turf insecticide)/Fall armyworm/Turf production17/03/2031/03/20Hort InnovationPERMIT
PER89279Various products/various crops/Fall armyworm11/03/2031/03/23Plant Health Aust.PERMIT

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