Fall armyworms begin an early spring attack on China’s crops
On March 6th, the Chinese Agricultural Technology Center’s facility for measuring damage from diseases and pests published a report on the occurrence patterns of fall armyworms during the early spring. According to the report, the larvae of fall armyworms have been discovered in 176 counties in the provinces of Yunnan, Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi, Fujian, Sichuan, and Guizhou.
The total area of land that has been affected with armyworm larvae is approximately 4.5 million acres, which is an increase of around 650,000 acres compared to two weeks ago. It is estimated that armyworm larvae still occupy approximately 3.3 million acres of farmland.
According to reports from the province of Guangxi, armyworm larvae have been discovered sporadically throughout sugarcane fields, while wheat fields have remained relatively immune to their threat. In 228 counties throughout Yunnan, Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi, Fujian, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Jiangxi, adult fall armyworms have been discovered, with dramatic increases noticed near China’s border in Yunnan.
Experts unilaterally agree that in 2020, the northern migration of fall armyworms has occurred earlier than normal, and fall armyworms have appeared in more areas than before. Furthermore, fall armyworms have become a greater threat to crops, and efforts to combat them have become more difficult.
Fall armyworms prolific in southern China, expected to spread northward
In a year-round breeding area of fall armyworms in Hainan, all stages of armyworms have been discovered, from eggs to larvae, pupae, and fully grown adults. At the beginning of March, the coronavirus in Hainan was given a status as a level three emergency and received the most attention from biologists; with the coronavirus under better control, biologists in tropical regions are finally able to begin research and control efforts aimed at the occurrence of fall armyworms.
As the air temperatures rise, corn and wheat will be shipped from the south of China to the north for the spring sowing, and as crops grow, China’s fall armyworms will continue to multiply rapidly.
According to a report on parasitic insects released on March 6th by China’s Service Center for the Promotion of Agricultural Technology, based on initially collected data, the presence of fall armyworms in Yunnan, Hainan, and Guangdong is especially large. The region of Nanfan in the south of Hainan, including the cities of Sanya, Ledong, and Lingshui base their economies primarily on crop cultivation, and the city of Dongfang is Hainan’s largest industrialized corn producing area. As air temperatures rise in March and April, parasitic insects will become more common and spread out, and their populations are sure to increase.
Fall armyworms have recently become a global nuisance
Fall armyworms are a species of parasitic insect originating from the tropical regions of North and South America which eats a variety of plants. Fall armyworms invaded Africa in January of 2016, and within two years spread out throughout Sahara desert and reached 44 African countries. In May of 2018, fall armyworms invaded India, and reached Bangladesh and Sri Lanka by November and Myanmar by mid-December. Fall armyworms have a great ability to migrate across long distances and to reproduce at a rapid rate. Fall armyworms pose a great risk of devouring crops, and controlling their spread can be exceedingly difficult. Fall armyworms fall into two major groups, one mainly eating corn, cotton, and millet, and the other mainly eating rice and grass.
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