Africa

New plague in southern Africa?

Updated 8:07 AM ET, Tue January 24, 2017
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The fall armyworm moth is among the most notorious pests in the Americas and it has recently invaded southern Africa.

In its larval stage, the rapacious pest has been compared to the locust for its devastating impact on crops. It also breeds rapidly and is difficult to detect.
Georg Goergen, IITA
Armyworm caterpillars are devastating maize plants in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, where it is a staple food crop. Georg Goergen, IITA
The armyworm in adult form is a formidable traveler. In North America, the species migrates from Florida to Canada, raising fears they could spread widely across Africa. Georg Goergen, IITA
The outbreak is particularly harmful as the region is still recovering from a severe recent drought that left millions food-insecure. JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The Zambian government has responded by bombing the pests with pesticides, although experts have questions whether the chemicals are effective. ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images