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Fall armyworm found in two states, one territory since first discovered in Australia

By Country News

An exotic pest with the potential to decimate crops overnight has been detected in two states and one territory since it was first found in Australia four months ago.

As of early April, authorities have found the fall armyworm larvae in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

The larvae was first found on the northern Torres Strait islands of Saibai and Erub in January.

“This is not unexpected as fall armyworm is highly mobile and can fly long distances with suitable weather conditions,” a Queensland Department of Agriculture spokesperson said.

The pest originates from the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, but has spread rapidly to other parts of the world since 2016.

It is known to eat more than 350 plant species including maize, cotton, rice, sorghum, sugarcane, wheat, and vegetable and fruit crops.

The fall armyworm is different to other types of armyworm commonly found in southern Australia.

The Queensland government is working with industry groups to find ways to address the threat posed by the fall armyworm moth and its larvae.