Fall armyworm

Medium larva and shot hole damage

Fall armyworm (FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda) is an exotic pest that was first detected on the Australian mainland in February 2020. Eradication has been determined to be unfeasible and it is now classified as an endemic pest. Reported to have a very wide potential host range, it hast so far shown a distinct preference for grass species with whorls, including sweet corn, maize and sorghum, where crop destruction can happen rapidly under high infestation levels.

Learn more about this pest:

NEW (May 2024) factsheet: Detecting and assessing fall armyworm (FAW) infestations in winter cereals and pasture

The Beatsheet sends out updates on this pest as information becomes available. Type FAW into the search box to find FAW-related information on this site, including our blog posts.

Webinars and recent presentations

See also our presentations page for more information and links to earlier recordings.

Other resources

Current research into FAW in horticulture by Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries can be found at the DAF Engagement hub. DAF also has several pages on FAW on the Business Queensland website.

NSW DPI have recently added a pdf identification guide to their fall armyworm webpage.

The GRDC has a Fall armyworm: a crop invader on the march page with identification information and links to other resources.

A short video on FAW in sugarcane from Burdekin Productivity Services (opens in Facebook).

The Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative has published a fall armyworm continuity plan and a podcast series on FAW. It explores the experiences and observations of experts from around the globe and here in Australia. Visit the PHA website.

CropLife Australia has released a FAW resistance strategy.

A range of spray permits for fall armyworm are available. Search for permits relevant to your crop/situation at the APVMA website

The DARABUG insect development model provides a convenient and readily available means of predicting development times using different insect models, including FAW. Gridded climatic data of daily temperatures is used to generate estimates of the dates of occurrence for each stage throughout the whole lifecycle of an insect. The science behind the modelling is described in Regional and seasonal activity predictions for fall armyworm in Australia (Insect Science volume 1).

Cesar Australia have developed a wind dispersal forcasting tool to help predict FAW movement.

DPIRD (Western Australia) has released a Fall armyworm surveillance manual with instructions for using pheromone traps.

CottonInfo has a short video highlighting some of the similar characteristics between caterpillars and an Endemics to exotics factsheet that looks at some of the differences between armyworm species found in the tropics.