Scientists at the North West University’s Potchefstroom Campus have created a ground-breaking pest control model.

The prototype accurately predicts the global spread and establishment of the Fall Army Worm.

Farmers across Africa have experienced heavy crop losses due to devastation caused by the invasive pest.

An unrelenting plague of fall army worms that nearly crippled local maize production and food security in this region.

Now researchers at the North West university have dedicated their time to better understanding this invasive North American parasite and where it is likely to invade again, since first appearing in Africa in 2016.

Prof Hannalene du Plessis the Associated Professor Integrated Pest Management Group says:

“We’ve seen that India is a place suitable for the fall army worm and it invaded India recently and that’s quite a big concern for Asia and Europe because of food security. This insect has about more than 100 hosts plants species so it’s not only on maize it’s on a lot of hosts plant.”

It is however not all doom and gloom. As this team of researchers have also been able to identify a natural solution to deal with the fall army worm.

Prof Johnnie Van Den Berg: Program Manager Integrated Pest Management Group says:

“We had a serendipitous discovery recently during a field trip where we were collecting fall army worms to use our raring and we discovered a parasitoid that were parasiting eggs; a large number of them and we got this identified and this parasitoid telenomus remus originates from South America where it is well known to be the best natural enemy and its mass reared by people there to control this pest.”

While research on this North American wasp is still advancing local researchers are more than certain it will not have any severe consequences on local crops.

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