Impact of Climate Change on Armyworm Infestation and Horticultural Crop Production in Gilgit-Baltistan

Zakir Hussain, Iqbal Hussain, Aqleem Abbas, Maqsood Hussain, Riaz Ahmad, Muhammad Shoaib


The armyworm is one of the major threats to global food crop security. It is a polyphagous pest that has recently spread to Gilgit Baltistan (GB) from another region of Pakistan. This pest has posed a significant threat to economically important cereal crops like wheat and maize, as well as to vegetable crops such as beans, forage crops like berseem and alfalfa, and fruit trees. While it has been reported in other regions of Pakistan, there has been no confirmed presence of the armyworm in GB, Pakistan. In April 2022, the armyworm invaded crops in districts Gilgit, Nagar, Hunza, Diamer, and Baltistan region. To monitor its movement, the integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) department of GB established mechanical traps in these districts. The armyworm outbreak persisted in these districts until the end of June 2022. The field survey revealed that the pest primarily targeted wheat, beans, maize, berseem, clovers, forage grasses, and vegetables. Suspected armyworm moths were captured and identified as Mythimna unipuncta through morphological analysis. Various pesticides were applied in the aforementioned districts to manage the armyworms. Additionally, the farming community of GB was provided with mechanical traps and spray machines.  The invasion of armyworms might be attributed to climate change, which has been observed over the last 4-5 years in GB. This case study confirms the first instance of armyworm immigration into GB, and it will serve as a valuable resource for the monitoring and management of armyworms. Moreover, raising farmer awareness about climate change and its impact on armyworms is essential. To effectively manage insect pests under changing climatic conditions, it is crucial to collaborate with stakeholders and farmers to prepare and enhance armyworm risk assessment maps. Furthermore, a comprehensive study involving molecular identification of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) should be conducted to achieve scientific identification


Armyworm; Mythimna unipuncta; outbreak; horticultural crops; Gilgit-Baltistan

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