EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 02 - 2017 Num. article: 2017/035

Spodoptera frugiperda continues to spread in Africa

In early 2016, outbreaks of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae – EPPO A1 List) were reported for the first time from Africa in Benin, Nigeria, São Tomé et Príncipe, and Togo (EPPO RS 2016/188). High armyworm populations damaging maize (Zea mays) crops have been noticed. Since these initial reports, other African countries have reported confirmed or suspected outbreaks of S. frugiperda, thus showing that the pest is rapidly spreading.

  • Ghana: the presence of the pest has recently been confirmed by molecular methods (CABI, 2017).
  • Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia: preliminary reports have indicated the possible presence of the pest.
  • South Africa: the first verified specimens of S. frugiperda were detected in various locations in the Limpopo, Gauteng, North West and Mpumalanga provinces.
  • Swaziland: the pest was first detected in Big Bend and Siphofaneni in the Eastern part of the country, and then in Lomahasha, Nkambeni and Mkhuzweni in the Northeastern part. Isolated cases have also been recorded in central and Western Swaziland in young maize fields. Delimiting surveys are being carried out and control strategies are being developed. Present: only in some areas (IPPC, 2017).
  • Zambia: in a preliminary pest report, the NPPO of Zambia has announced that the presence of S. frugiperda on its territory was suspected (IPPC, 2017).
  • Zimbabwe: the presence of the pest has been confirmed.


- CABI (2017-02-06). Scientists discover new crop-destroying armyworm is now ‘spreading rapidly’ in Africa. http://www.cabi.org/news-and-media/2017/scientists-discover-new-crop-destroying-armyworm-is-now-spreading-rapidly-in-africa/
- FAO Regional Office for Africa (2017-02-03) Fall army worm outbreak, a blow to prospects of recovery for southern Africa. http://www.fao.org/africa/news/detail-news/en/c/469532/
- Reuters (2017-02-22) Armyworm caterpillars ravage maize crop in southeast Congo.

IPPC website. Official Pest Reports
- South Africa (ZAF-33/1 of 2017-02-10) First detection of fall army worm (Spodoptera frugiperda). https://www.ippc.int/en/countries/south-africa/pestreports/2017/02/first-detection-of-fall-army-worm-spodoptera-frugiperda/
- Swaziland (SWZ-02/1) Detection of Fall Army Worm Spodoptera frugiperda in Swaziland. https://www.ippc.int/en/countries/swaziland/pestreports/2017/02/detection-of-fall-army-worm-spodoptera-frugiperda-in-swaziland/
– Zambia (ZMB-02/2 of 2017-02-16) Preliminary report on fall Armyworm in Zambia. https://www.ippc.int/en/countries/zambia/pestreports/2017/02/preliminary-report-on-fall-armyworm-in-zambia/