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17 February, 2020

Invasive insect species found on Australian mainland

Fall armyworm has been detected on the Australian mainland less than a week after Biosecurity Queensland revealed the invasive pest species had been found on Erub and Saibai islands in the Torres Strait.

By Phil Brandel

According to the ABC, Fall armyworm has been detected on the Australian mainland less than a week after Biosecurity Queensland confirmed that the invasive insect had been found in the Torres Strait.

The ABC has reported that a single moth was caught in a trap at Bamaga. Biosecurity Queensland are now working with the Federal Government on a response plan.

The insect’s larvae are known to eat more than 350 different crop species and could be disastrous for Australia’s Agricultural industry if the species gains a stronghold. In areas where the moth has taken hold, the destruction of crops has happened almost overnight.


Last week, CSIRO researcher Wee Tek Tay told the ABC none of the 65 countries the species has invaded had successfully eradicated it, and that Australia would also struggle to rid itself of the pest should it establish on the mainland.

Biosecurity Queensland’s Malcolm Letts said specialised moth traps would be placed across Queensland to detect and contain any further spread of the pest.

“Destruction of crops can happen almost overnight when population levels are high,” he said.

A spokesperson for Biosecurity QLD told The Express last night "That Fall armyworm had been detected on mainland Australia" but couldn't confirm where.


According to the Department of Primary Industries website “The fall armyworm is native to tropical to sub-tropical areas of America. Initial detection in Africa in 2016 saw the fall armyworm spread to more than 30 countries over 3 years. In 2018, the fall armyworm was detected in India and Sri Lanka. In 2019 it had spread to Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, China and Indonesia. A suitable climate, trade and transport routes mean Australia could potentially face a high threat of fall armyworm invasions originating from neighbouring and trading countries.”


Be on the lookout and report signs to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or contact the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Native to the sub-tropical areas of the Americas, the Fall armyworm has reached Australia. Supplied: Biosecurity Queensland

Last week we reported on the Fall Armyworm being found in the Torres Strait. - https://bit.ly/2V0sWfo


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