As reported extensively in the news media recently, South African farmers have had to contend this season with a new pest - the Fall Armyworm (FAW). This insect prefers maize but is a generalist feeder on many crops and is resistant to pyrethroid insecticides. Emergency responses by agricultural authorities and role players have mitigated the threat. However the pest has already reached most provinces in the country.  FABI’s Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions (MPPI) research group added value to their ongoing survey of fungal diseases in small-holder maize farms in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape Provinces by disseminating information about FAW to provincial agricultural extension officers and small-holder farmers.  The MPPI student group of David Nsibo, Zimbili Mlunjwa, Tumisang Mokgobu, Carol-Ann Segal and Rotondwa Nemuhuyuni put together a pictorial information sheet on how to identify the FAW, and translated it into Zulu and Xhosa.  Laminated printouts were shared and discussed with farmers and extension officers in both provinces. The team kept an eye out for FAW but only found it at one site (in KwaZulu-Natal).

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Marincowitz S, Duong TA, Heiniger U, Wingfield BD, Wingfield MJ, De Beer ZW. (2017) A new Leptographium species from the roots of declining Pinus sylvestris in Switzerland. Forest Pathology 10.1111/efp.12346
Faulkner KT, Hurley BP, Robertson MP, Rouget M, Wilson JRU. (2017) The balance of trade in alien species between South Africa and the rest of Africa. Bothalia 47 10.4102/abc.v47i2.2157
Van der Linde JA, Wingfield MJ, Crous CJ, Six DL, Roux J. (2017) Landscape degradation may contribute to large-scale die-offs of Euphorbia ingens in South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 111:144-152. 10.1016/j.sajb.2017.03.022 PDF
Kenis M, Hurley BP, Hajek A, Cock MJW. (2017) Classical biological control of insect pests of trees: facts and figures. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-017-1414-4
Van der Linde JA, Six DL, Wingfield MJ, Roux J. (2017) Fungi and insects associated with Euphorbia ingens die-off in South Africa. Southern Forests 10.2989/20702620.2016.1263004 PDF