Armyworm invasion destroys crops in southern Africa - CNN.com
Hard to kill
The fall armyworms moths are born survivors, according to Georg Goergen, an entomologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture who is a long-time researcher of the species.
“This species is the number one pest of the Americas,” he says. “We saw it last year in Nigeria and Togo and it has spread much faster than expected.”
In North America the species migrates over huge distances, from Florida in the South to Canada in the North, and Goergen expects them to spread further in Africa.
“The next step will be countries such as Kenya and Tanzania... I don’t know if it can cross the Sahara.”
The entomologist is involved with research efforts to find an effective pesticide to control the caterpillars. He says the existing chemicals being used in Africa are unlikely to succeed.
In the US, genetically modified crops have been used to combat them, although they have developed defences.
As the armyworm crisis deepens, the search for a solution is at risk of becoming desperate.