A SURVEILLANCE program run by the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has detected the crop pest, fall armyworm, near Gingin 67 kilometres north of Perth.
DPIRD senior research scientist Helen Spafford said two moths were recently collected in a pheromone trap north of Gingin.
“This is the most southerly detection we have had in Western Australia, since the pest was first confirmed in northern parts of Australia earlier this year,” Dr Spafford said.
“While no larvae or feeding damage has been found in this area, we encourage horticulture, grain and turfgrass growers to be checking for larvae in their crops and monitor for unusual levels of damage.
“Suspected fall armyworm should be reported to DPIRD to assist with surveillance and potential management options.
“This trap and others further south will continue to be monitored as part of DPIRD’s ongoing surveillance program.”
Accurately identifying fall armyworm is important in determining management options and other caterpillars already present in the area may look very similar.
“Young fall armyworm larvae are light coloured with a darker head,” Dr Spafford said.
“As they develop the body darkens, becoming more brown with white lengthwise stripes. They also develop dark spots, the pattern of which is important, with spines.”
Producers, agronomists and homeowners are reminded to report suspected armyworm damage to DPIRD’s Pest and Disease Information Service on +61 (0)8 9368 3080, email [email protected], or use the MyPestGuideTM Reporter app.
More information on fall armyworm, including monitoring and management, is available from the department website.