logo IPPC
      FAQ            Log in

Fall Army Worm (Spodoptera frugiperda)

Publication Date
Wed, 17 Jan 2024, 04:22
Last Updated
Jan. 18, 2024, 12:16 a.m.
Report Number
Pest Id
fall armyworm - (LAPHFR)
Report Status
FAW host on more than 80 plant species. The FAW has a preference for plants in the grass family, the Poaceae, i.e., maize or corns, millets, rice, sorghum, sugarcane, but it also attacks banana, cotton, cowpeas, ginger, peanut, tobacco, some forage legumes, and vegetables, e.g., beans, cabbage, capsicum, cauliflowers, cucumber, eggplant, potato, sweet potato, tomato, some weeds and ornamentals
Pest Status (ISPM 8 - 2021)
  • Present: at low prevalence
Geographical Distribution
The Republic of Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is located some 1,750km east of Australia, 500km north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji and south of the Solomon Islands. FAW is recorded to be present on neighboring countries as Solomon Islands which lies to the North of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, which is more to the South of Vanuatu. The Y-shaped chain of four main islands (Tanna, Efate, Malakula and Santo) and 80 smaller islands, 1,240 mi (2,000 km) northeast of Australia. The land is mostly mountainous, with low coastal plains. Espiritu Santo and Malakula are the largest islands, with nearly half of the total land area, though the capital, Port Vila, and much of the population are on Efate. The other large town is Loganville on Espiritu Santo. Some of the smaller islands are coral and limestone, rather than volcanic, but only one is purely a coral atoll. FAW has been confirmed on Efate and offshore Islands, Aneityum further down south of Vanuatu and Epi Island.

Fall Army Worm (FAW), Scientific name is Spodoptera frugiperda is a plant pest that can feed on over 350 plant species, preferring grasses and cereals. vegetable hosts include corn, asparagus, beans, peas, beetroot, brassica, capsicum, cucurbits, eggplant, onions, kumara, lettuce, and tomatoes. In Vanuatu, it feeds on Corn.

The pest is a serious pest of corns, which can wipe out all corn gardens if not managed and control. FAW is a moth that is a strong flyer and travels fast, with wind assistance some travel up to 1000 km in a lifetime. Spread can also occur via international trade in vegetables and ornamentals. According to impacts recorded for other countries, it is a devastating pest that has the ability to wipe out full corn crop farms. In Africa, it was first detected in 2016 and has been reported in 28 countries, tens of millions of hectares of maize have been infected plus large areas of sorghum and millet. Estimated losses from sub-Saharan Africa are put between US$2.5-6.2 billion a year. Similar rapid spread has occurred across India beginning in 2018, and in January 2019 the armyworm reached Sri Lanka, and several Southeast Asian countries. Around Pacific Island countries, FAW was recorded in New Caledonia in 2019, Australia in 2020, Solomon Islands in 2021 and New Zealand in 2022. Since these are neighboring countries of Vanuatu, it was just a matter of time before the pest arrives in Vanuatu since it is present on New Caledonia which is situated towards the Southern part of Vanuatu and it is also present in Solomon Islands which is towards the Northern part of Vanuatu. With the cyclones that have arrived, this could have assisted movement of FAW to Vanuatu.
Contact for info
Leisongi Manses Senior Plant Health Officer Department of Biosecurity Port Vila VANUATU email [email protected] [email protected] telephone (678) 23519
Report files
Report of FAW Presence in Vanuatu
FAW Confirmation Report from PHEL New Zealand Laboratory
FAW Vanuatu Press Release to Media December 2023
Issue keywords
Pest status:Present/Presence
Commodity keywords
Maize or corn

« Back to Pest Reports