- Fall armyworm has devastated millions of hectares of maize and sorghum in Africa
- Researchers have identified an insect that could curb the spread of the pest in four countries
- Policymakers must act fast to register it as a biological control strategy, experts say
By: Royal Uche
[LAGOS] Scientists have identified a biological weapon that could help fight the scourge of fall armyworm, a devastating pest that experts say threatens the food security of about 200 million people in Africa.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fall armyworm has already spread across Sub-Saharan Africa since its detection in the region in 2016, affecting millions of hectares of maize and sorghum crops.
The biological weapon, known as Telenomus remus,
is an egg parasitoid — an insect that completes its larval development within the body of another insect leading to the death of its host. It is already being used to tackle fall armyworm in the Americas, experts say.
“We hope that by using this parasitoid or other biological control agents, the quantity of synthetic insecticides used against fall armyworm will diminish.” Marc Kenis, CABI
Now an international team of researchers have used DNA analysis and morphological observations to confirm the presence of T. remus
in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Niger and South Africa, according to a study
published in the journal Insects
last week (29 March).
Read on: https://www.scidev.net/global/environment/news/biological-weapon-against-fall-armyworm-found-in-africa-1x.html