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Fall armyworm – what you need to know


Earlier this year, Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) was detected for the first time in Australia.  It has now been reported in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. Fall armyworm is an invasive moth that is reported to feed on more than 350 different plant species, including fruit and vegetable crops.  While apples and pears are not thought to be a preferred host for the pest, it is important to remain vigilant and be prepared.

Fall armyworm larvae look like caterpillars and are brown and green with a darker head.

Adult moths are 15 to 20mm long, with a wingspan of 32 to 40mm, brown/grey forewings  and white hindwings.


If you suspect Fall armyworm in your orchard, you should immediately contact the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 or the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Early detection and reporting are essential.

Minor use permits

Hort Innovation has successfully secured emergency minor use permits from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for use against Fall armyworm.  The following is relevant for apples and pears:

Permit Id: PER89293 ‘Methomyl / Various Fruit, Nuts, Vegetables, Turf and Non-bearing Ornamentals / Fall Armyworm’.

This permit expires on 30 April 2023.

More information

More information, including fact sheets and a webinar, can be found on the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) website. 

Fall armyworm and the current biosecurity response were featured on the ABC’s Landline program on Sunday 4 April 2020. You can watch the segment here:

Biosecurity fall armyworm Pests

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