Armyworm invasion destroys crops in southern Africa

Story highlights

  • Caterpillars are destroying crops in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi
  • Region still suffering from effects of a severe drought that left 40 million dependent on aid

(CNN)They destroy like swarms of locusts, breed like rabbits, and are masters of disguise.

Multiple species of armyworm moths are laying waste to vast tracts of farmland across southern Africa. In their larval stage, the inch-long pests have destroyed thousands of hectares of crops in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi -- threatening food security and livelihoods in a region still reeling from a devastating spell of drought.