Widespread, and spreading. Present in Asia, but not Indonesia, the Philippines, Oceania. Hosts: maize, millets, rice, sorghum, sugarcane, and many others of economic importance.
Damage: larvae eat leaves and bore into fruits, e.g., maize cobs. Crops losses across Africa since 2016 have cost billions of dollars.
Eggs masses (up to 200) on underside of leaves. Young larvae green, feed together, later brown with three whitish lines along back, dark spots with spines, and upside-down Y on head. Larger larvae cannibalistic and nocturnal. Adults, brown forewings and white hindwings, up to 40 mm wingspan.
Spread is rapid on the wing, and on air currents. Highly invasive.
Natural enemies: many parasitoids and predators known, and pathogens.
Cultural control: avoid overlapping crops; avoid planting new crops next to old; plant napier or Brachicaria grass (attracts moths) around crops, and Desmodium (repels moths) between crops; monitor; crush egg masses; bird perches; attract ants; ash for maize whorls; collect and burn debris after harvest,
Chemical control: biorational pesticides: (i) botanicals (chillies, neem, derris, pyrethrum); (ii) microbials e.g., Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki) against young caterpillars, spinosad, Beauveria; (iii) avoid other kinds of pesticides as moths have resistance to them, or will develop it, and (iv) will kill natural enemies.