Adequate and timely response to locust infestations is essential to prevent or limit damage to crops and rangelands -and therefore impact on food security- and minimize impact on human health and the environment as well as financial costs of related campaigns. As a matter of fact, the earlier a locust outbreak is dealt with, the better it is managed. At an early stage of an outbreak, concerned areas are still limited, often infested by hoppers only, which are less mobile than adults, more sensitive to pesticides and can form dense patches or bands, which means that less pesticide is needed to control them; the campaign can therefore be less expensive in terms of financial and environmental costs. Furthermore, at an early stage, as cropping areas are not under immediate threat, less hazardous but slow acting pesticides such as Insect Growth Regulators (acting on the moult process) or bio-pesticides (fungus) can be used.
It is therefore fundamental to address adequately locust outbreaks; this means early reaction as well as appropriate and timely control operations carried out with updated and efficient techniques as well as less environmentally hazardous pesticides and formulations. It also implies adequate pesticide management.
During the Regional Consultation on Locust Management in Caucasus and Central Asia (Almaty, October 2009), CCA countries discussed and adopted a Standard Spray Monitoring Form. They agreed to use this standard form at national level from the beginning of the next locust campaign onwards, i.e. from spring 2010. This contributes to monitor the anti-locust situation and its management in the different countries but also to assess more precisely the gaps in knowledge to be fulfilled.
Overview on locust control in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)
In CCA, control operations are mainly carried out during spring against hoppers. They can also target egg-beds (early spring) or adults (late spring and summer). Although some countries use mechanical control, spraying of chemical pesticides is the predominant control method, with an average claimed efficacy of nearly 90 percent. Control is essentially done by ground, with tractor-driven sprayers, but most countries can also conduct aerial spraying. The most common method is full cover treatment and the most common technique remains water-based spraying, using emulsifiable concentrate (EC). Ultra-low volume (ULV) spraying is still marginal, even though it is slowly making its way into practice.
For more info, see the “Analytical Report on Locust Situations and Management in Caucasus and Central Asia”.
Activities carried out in 2010
In 2010, FAO assistance was provided to Georgia, which faced an unprecedented and unexpected outbreak of the Moroccan Locust. Activities carried out aimed at strengthening ground control capacities, with focus on Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) technology, and also at monitoring pesticide use (See Summary).