Fall armyworms, a long-time American pest, are making their way around the globe, now raising alarm in Asian countries, including China, after entrenching themselves in Africa, said the South China Morning Post.
The insect was first reported in the Americas in 2016, then moved to Africa, where it has infested up to half of some crops of maize, sorghum and millet. It’s now spread through Yemen and South Asia to Thailand and China.
The incursions of this alien species threaten to upend the balance between costs and returns for farmers. Pesticides are costly, toxic and do not always work, according to experts from the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (UN FAO).
The new habitats may lack some of the insect’s natural predators, added UN FAO experts. The organization is convening a conference in Bangkok this week to help share information and strategies on battling the pest.