Spodoptera frugiperda, also called the armyworm, is an insect that damages in the larva stage, native to America. It is well known to farmers and wreaks havoc on maize crops. But the insecticides used to control this pest are also disastrous: in addition to pollution and impacts on humans, they also kill potentially beneficial insects.
In it’s paper 'Effects of native entomopathogenic fungal strains and neem extract on Spodoptera frugiperda on maize', Antonia Hernandez-Trejo compares the effects of an insect-parasitic fungus and neem extracts with those of an insecticide. Through this study, she shows that natural solutions work just as well.
In this experiment, the researcher treated crops that were parasitized with fungi, neem extracts and an insecticide respectively. Her results clearly show that the effectiveness of the fungus is comparable to that of the insecticide, plus that of the neem is lower.
Of course, the results differ according to external factors: the seasons, the intensity of the sun's rays, can impact the experiment. But in any case, the fungus has proven its effectiveness in the field. By attaching itself to the insects' bodies, it eventually penetrates them deeply, causing their death.
With the global awareness of the climate emergency in recent years, new methods are being introduced or revived in agriculture. The use of natural parasites is one of the more environmentally friendly and healthier solutions.