A simple change in the choice of grass varieties for lawns of St. Augustinegrass could be a key tool for fending off fall armyworm infestations, according to new research. While no single St. Augustinegrass cultivar rises above the rest in resisting infestation, mixing varieties may confer some benefits, as fall armyworms clearly preferred single-cultivar plantings in a series of lab tests.
The fall armyworm's impact on maize earns plenty of attention, but it is in fact polyphagous. Sorghum, a key cereal crop in Africa, is also vulnerable to the pest's damage, and researchers are working on biocontrol and other integrated pest management methods in hopes of containing the fall armyworm's impact around the world.
Fighting Nature With Nature: Scientists Mobilize Biological Control Against Devastating Fall Armyworm
Researchers at Virginia Tech's Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management are looking to biological control for the fall armyworm, with plans to deploy native, mass-reared parasitoid wasps in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia in the coming year.
The parasitic wasp Telenomus remus can be cheaper to raise on a commercial scale on the eggs of an alternate host, rather than those of the fall armyworm, the pest the wasp naturally parasitizes in the field