Telenomus remus.
Photo: © Andrew Polaszek/ NHM/ Imperial College

15.04.2019

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The presence of Telenomus remus in Africa in at least five countries provides a great opportunity to develop augmentative biological control methods against Fall Armyworm.

The egg parasitoid Telenomus remus could prove an important biological weapon in the fight against the devastating Fall Armyworm in Africa, announced  scientists from CAB International (CABI) in April 2019. Fall armyworm is a pest originating from the Americas, whose presence on the African continent was first reported in Sao Tome and Principe around January 2016.

Telenomus remus is the main egg parasitoid of Fall Armyworm in the Americas, where it is already used in augmentative biological control programmes. In Latin America, field releases of Telenomus remus in maize can result in 80-100 per cent parasitism, providing full control of fall armyworm, according to the scientists.

Now, they confirmed the presence of Telenomus remus in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Niger and South Africa, providing a great opportunity to develop augmentative biological control methods and register the parasitoid against Fall Armyworm. Further surveys should be carried out throughout Africa to assess the present distribution and impact of Telenomus remus on the continent.

The scientists state that they are not aware of how and when Telenomus remus arrived in Africa, but are confident that it arrived before the fall armyworm as a specimen was collected in Kenya in 1988.

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