Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Opportunities and scope for botanical extracts and products for the management of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) for smallholders in Africa.

Abstract

Fall Armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a polyphagous and highly destructive pest of many crops. It was recently introduced into Africa and now represents a serious threat to food security, particularly because of yield losses in maize, which is the staple food for the majority of small-scale farmers in Africa. The pest has also led to increased production costs, and threatens trade because of quarantines imposed on produce from the affected countries. There is limited specific knowledge on its management among smallholders since it is such a new pest in Africa. Some synthetic insecticides have been shown to be effective in controlling FAW, but in addition to the economic, health and environmental challenges of pesticide use insecticide resistance is highly prevalent owing to years of FAW management in the Americas. Therefore, there is a need for the development and use of alternatives for the management of FAW. These include plant-derived pesticides. Here we review the efficacy and potential of 69 plant species, which have been evaluated against FAW, and identify opportunities for use among small-scale maize farmers with a focus on how pesticidal plants might be adopted in Africa for management of FAW. The biological activities were diverse and included insecticidal, insectistatic (causing increased larval duration), larvicidal, reduced growth and acute toxicity (resulting in adverse effects within a short time after exposure). While most of these studies have been conducted on American plant taxa many South American plants are now cosmopolitan weeds so these studies are relevant to the African context.