Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) has been detected in several new locations in southern and southwestern Queensland over the past week, at the Lockyer Valley, St George and Chinchilla. This follows the recent detection of fall armyworm in northern New South Wales at Moree and Boggabilla near the Queensland border.

This expansion of range from northern and central Queensland is not unexpected as fall armyworm is highly mobile, with long-distance migrations facilitated by favourable meteorological conditions.

Fall armyworm was initially detected on the Torres Strait islands of Saibai and Erub in January 2020. Since then it has also been reported from numerous sites in northern and central Queensland including Bamaga, Croydon, South Johnstone, Tolga, Lakeland, the Burdekin, Bowen, Bundaberg, Emerald, Richmond, Clermont, Biloela, Mackay and Longreach.

Fall armyworm has also been detected in the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Queensland is working with industry to find ways to address the serious threat posed by the fall armyworm to Queensland’s agriculture industry. In conjunction with industry, DAF now manages a statewide network of over 50 pheromone traps, monitoring local fall armyworm activity–an early warning system for growers and agronomists. This trap data is updated weekly and is available on the Beatsheet website.

Producers who think that they may have come across fall armyworm are strongly encouraged to photograph and report suspect sightings to DAF on 13 25 23 or to their local biosecurity officer or extension officer.

For more information, including the potential impacts of this pest and management advice for key crops, visit business.qld.gov.au/fallarmyworm.