alexa Potential new weapon against crop pests discovered

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Potential new weapon against crop pests discovered

The research team discovered that some African armyworms carry a small bacterium called Wolbachia which makes them more vulnerable to a natural virus which can be used as a biopesticide. The African armyworm is a devastating caterpillar pest which feeds on cereal crops, including maize, wheat, millet and rice. Up to 500,000 caterpillars can sometimes attack a single hectare and totally destroy a crop. They are a major threat to food security in Africa, where chemical pesticides are too expensive for most farmers. David Grzywacz, Entomologist & Virologist at the University of Greenwich, says: "The mass release of insects infected Wolbachia couldturn out to be an important new tool in the fight to control some insect crop pests. It may prove particularly useful for those that are difficult to control with chemical pesticides."

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