An outbreak of Fall Armyworm in Indian Subcontinent : A New Invasive Pest on Maize


The Fall armyworm (Spodopterafrugiperda, J.E. Smith), an economically crucial polyphagous insect pest native to
tropical and subtropical regions of America has reached Asia and noticed first time in maize fields South Karnataka
in the Indian subcontinent during May 2018, causing substantial damage to the crop. The pest has invaded most
of the maize growing area in India within a short period of two months posing a severe threat to maize growers,
challenges to the scientific community and administrators. In the context of its economic importance and destructive
nature, the identification, biology and life cycle, nature of damage and extent of yield loss, and management
of fall armyworm through cultural practices, mechanical and local controls, biological and synthetic pesticides
have been reviewed in detail in the present manuscript. Early planting and intercropping with non-host crops are
essential cultural practices to reduce pest incidence. The crop which was monitored during the early vegetative
stage showed a good response for synthetic pesticides, while crop damage was largest in late vegetative and
pre-flowering stages. The pathways of the introduction of fall armyworm into Indian sub-continent are subject
to speculations, however considering the lack of diapause mechanisms, its high spreading ability, and wide host
plant range it is likely that the pest will soon be able to colonize most of tropical Asia. Hence, there is an urgent
need for developing ecologically sustainable, economically profitable, and socially acceptable integrated pest
management strategies to mitigate the impact of the fall armyworm in India and Asia.


armyworm;Spodopterafrugiperda; maize; corn; pest damage

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