Australian scientists working to combat insecticide-resistant invasive worm species

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CANBERRA, July 10 (Xinhua) — Australia’s national science agency has committed to combating the spread of the invasive fall armyworm throughout Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) on Thursday announced that it will lead a research project investigating which practices are most effective for managing fall armyworm populations.

The fall armyworm (FAW) is an invasive pest species that poses a major threat to various crops including maize, sorghum, cotton, ginger and sugarcane across southeast Asia and Oceania.

“This particular species of armyworm has developed resistance to commonly used insecticides in other parts of the world, making management more difficult,” Wee Tek Tay, a CSIRO researcher and project leader, said in a media release.

“It has spread rapidly since the first reported detection in Africa in 2016, across Asia and Africa and to Australia in early 2020, potentially carrying new insecticide resistance or feeding traits.

“The resistance status of the current incursion, potential for resistance to develop over time and the ongoing migration of FAW into Australia and the region may present significant challenges to agricultural industries.

“The more we know about this armyworm, its genetics and its response to insecticides, the better we can plan for effective management and eradication strategies.”

The FAW has been found in Queensland, the Northern Territory (NT) and Western Australia (WA) where it is spreading rapidly and moving south. Enditem

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