Skip to main content
Log in

Biocontrol-based management of fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J E Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on Indian Maize

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Spodoptera frugiperda (J E Smith) (fall armyworm) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is a key pest of maize that has recently entered in India causing damage and yield loss. A biocontrol-based integrated pest management (IPM) strategy was designed and evaluated in farmer’s field during rabi and kharif season (2018–2019). IPM strategy comprising installation of controlled release FAW pheromone traps, four releases of Trichogramma pretiosum Riley, two sprays of neem oil, one spray of each Bacillus thuringiensis (NBAIR-BT25) and Metarizium anisopliae (NBAIR Ma-35) resulted in 76 and 71.64% egg mass; 80 and 74.44% larval population reduction at 60 days after treatment during rabi and kharif season, respectively. Cob yield per acre in biocontrol-based IPM field was higher than the farmer’s practice (6–7 sprays of emamectin benzoate 5% SG) during both the seasons, and it resulted in 38.3 and 42.29% gain in yield per acre during rabi and kharif, respectively. Therefore, this module forms a base to manage the fall armyworm in an eco-friendly and farmer friendly manner. Future research with other alternatives has also been discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Akutse KS, Kimemia JW, Ekesi S, Khamis FM, Ombura OL, Subramanian S (2019) Ovicidal effects of entomopathogenic fungal isolates on the invasive fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). J Appl Entomol 143:626–663

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Al-Kherb WA (2014) Virulence bio-assay efficiency of Beauveria bassianaand Metarhizium anisopliaefor the biological control of Spodoptera exigua(Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) eggs and the 1st instars larvae. Aust J Basic Appl Sci 8(3):313–323

    Google Scholar 

  • Álvarez A, Pera LM, Loto F, Virla EG, Baigorí MD (2009) Insecticidal crystal proteins from native Bacillus thuringiensis: numerical analysis and biological activity against Spodoptera frugiperda. Biotechnol Lett 31:77–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anand R, Tiwary BN (2009) Pathogenicity of entomopathogenic fungi to eggs and larvae of Spodoptera litura, the common cutworm. Biocontrol Sci Technol 19(9):919–929

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beserra EB, Dias CTDS, Parra JRP (2002) Distribution and natural parasitism of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) eggs at different phenological stages of corn. Fla Entomol 85:588–593

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brookes G, Barfoot P (2017) GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts (1996–2015). PG Economics LTD, Dorcester.

  • Bueno RCODF, Carneiro TR, Pratissoli D, Bueno ADF, Fernandes OA (2008) Biology and thermal requirements of Telenomusremus reared on fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda eggs. Ciênc Rural 38:1–6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Capalbo DMF, Valicenti FH, Moraes IO, De Oliveira Iracema, Pelizer LH (2001) Solid-state fermentation of Bacillus thuringiensis tolworthi to control fall armyworm in maize. Electron J Biotechnol 4(2):9–10

    Google Scholar 

  • de Souza JDA, Jain S, de Oliveira CMF, Lucena WA (2009) Toxicity of a Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis-like strain against Spodoptera frugiperda. Biocontrol 54:467–473.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • dos Santos KB, Neves P, Meneguim AM, dos Santos RB et al (2009) Selection and characterization of the Bacillus thuringiensis strains toxic to Spodoptera eridania (Cramer), Spodoptera cosmioides (Walker) and Spodoptera frugiperda (Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Biol Control 50:157–163

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ekesi S, Adamu RS, Maniania NK (2002) Ovicidal activity of entomopathogenic hyphomycetes to the legume pod borer, Marucavitrataand the pod sucking bug Clavigralla Tomentosicollis. Crop Prot 21(7):589–595.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Figueiredo MDLC, Cruz I, da Silva RB, Foster JE (2015) Biological control with Trichogramma pretiosum increases organic maize productivity by 19.4%. Agron Sustain Dev 35:1175–1183

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • García C, González MB, Bautista MN (2011) Patogenicidad de aislamientos de hongosentomopatógenos contra Spodoptera fru- giperda(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Epilachnavarivestis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Rev Colomb Entomol 37(2):217–222

    Google Scholar 

  • Gutiérrez-Moreno R, Mota-Sanchez D, Blanco CA, Whalon ME, Terán-Santofimio H, Rodriguez-Maciel JC, DiFonzo C, (2019) Field-evolved resistance of the fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to synthetic insecticides in puerto rico and mexico. J Econ Entomol 112(2):792–802.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hruska AJ (2019) Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) management by smallholders. CAB Rev 14(043):1–11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jaraleño-Teniente J, Lomeli-Flores JR, Rodríguez-Leyva E, Bujanos-Muñiz R, Rodríguez-Rodríguez SE (2020) Egg parasitoids survey of Spodoptera frugiperda (Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in maize and sorghum in Central Mexico. Insects 11:157.

    Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Khorrami F, Mehrkhou F, Mahmoudian M, Ghosta Y (2018) Pathogenicity of three different entomopathogenic fungi, Metarhizium anisopliaeIRAN 2252, Nomuraea rileyiIRAN 1020C and PaecilomycestenuipesIRAN 1026C against the Potato tuber moth, Phthorimaea operculella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). Potato Res 61(4):297–308.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Loto FDV, Carrizo AE, Romero CM, Baigorí MD, Pera LM (2019) Spodoptera frugiperda(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) strains from northern Argentina: esterases, profiles, and susceptibility to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bacillales: Bacillaceae). Fla Entomol 102:347–352

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mallapur CP, Naik AK, Hagari S, Praveen T, Patil RK, Lingappa S (2018) Potentiality of Nomuraearileyi (Farlow) Samson against the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J E Smith) infesting maize. J EntomolZool Stud 6(6):1062–1067

    Google Scholar 

  • Manupriya (2019) Fall armyworm, destroyer of maize farms, causes concern in India. Published in Mongaway series on 2 September 2019.

  • Molina-Ochoa J, Carpenter JE, Heinrichs EA, Foster JE (2003) Parasitoids and parasites of Spodoptera frugiperda(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in the Americas and Caribbean basin: an inventory. Fla Entomol 86:254–289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Montezano DG, Specht A, Sosa-Gómez DR, Roque-Specht VF, Sousa-Silva JC, Paula-Moraes SV, Peterson JA, Hunt TE (2018) Host plants of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in the Americas. Afr Entomol 26:286–300

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mota-Sanchez D, Wise J (2017) Arthropod pesticide resistance database. Michigan State University.

  • Polanczyk RA, da Silva RFP, Fiuza LM (2000) Effectiveness of Bacillus thuringiensis strains against Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Braz J Microbiol 31:165–167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Romero-Arenas O, Rivera A, Aragon A, Parraguirre C, Cabrera E, López F (2014) Mortality evaluation of armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda JE Smith) by using Metarhizium anisopliae in vitro. J Pure Appl Microbiol 8:59–67

    Google Scholar 

  • Sankaran T (1974) Natural enemies introduced in recent years for biological control of agricultural pests in India. Indian J Agric Sci 44:425–433

    Google Scholar 

  • Shylesha AN, Jalali SK, Gupta A, Varshney R, Venkatesan T, Shetty P, Ojha R, Ganiger PC, Navik O, Subaharan K, Bakthavatsalam N, Ballal CR (2018) Studies on new invasive pest Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and its natural enemies. J Biol Control 32(3):1–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Silva MS, Broglio SMF, Trindade RCP, Ferrreira ES, Gomes IB, Micheletti LB (2015) Toxicity and application of neem in fall armyworm. Commun Sci 6(3):359–364.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sisay B, Simiyu J, Malusi P, Likhayo P, Mendesil E, Elibariki N, Wakgiri M, Ayalew G, Tefera T (2018) First report of fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera:Noctuidae), natural enemies from Africa. J Appl Entomol 142(8):800–804.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sisay B, Tefera T, Wakgari M, Ayalew G, Mendesil E (2019) The efficacy of selected synthetic insecticides and botanicals against fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, in maize. Insects.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Travers RS, Martin PA, Reichelderfer CF (1987) Selective process for efficient isolation of soil Bacillus spp. Appl Environ Microbiol 53:1263–1266

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Van Lenteren JC, Bueno VH (2003) Augmentative biological control of arthropods in Latin America. Biocontrol 48:123–139

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yu SJ, Nguyen SN, Abo-Elghar GE (2003) Biochemical characteristics of insecticide resistance in the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith). Pest Biochem Physiol 77:1–11

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to thank Indian Council of Agricultural Research and to Dr. Chandish R. Ballal, Director ICAR-NBAIR for providing research facilities. Authors are also thankful to the farmer friend, Mr. Srinivas for making his field available for the study and support. The financial grant received from CABI under a collaborative project is gratefully acknowledged.


This study was funded by CABI UK collaborative project “Emergency response to address Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) in India through deployment of proven IPM Technologies for its management”.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



NB and RV were involved in conceptualization; ANS and NB helped in funding acquisition; RR and BR contributed to biopesticides isolates; RV and YL were involved in egg parasitoid multiplication; NB and KS contributed to pheromone traps; RV, BP, AR, VA were involved in farmer's field experiment and data recording; RV helped in data analysis and preparation of manuscript; BR, NB, KS, RR, MC and VP contributed to review and editing manuscript; and all authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Richa Varshney.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors have not found any potential conflicts of interest, and all ethical aspects are considered.

Ethics approval/consent to participate

This manuscript does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Availability of data and material

The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Varshney, R., Poornesha, B., Raghavendra, A. et al. Biocontrol-based management of fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J E Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on Indian Maize. J Plant Dis Prot 128, 87–95 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: