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Desert Locust briefs 2014

2 September. Unusually good rains may give rise to widespread locust infestations in the Sahel

The Desert Locust situation is currently calm. So far, only isolated adults have been detected in the summer breeding areas of Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Sudan.

As unusually good rains fell in August throughout the Sahel, reaching further north than normal, there is potential for widespread breeding to occur that could cause locust numbers to increase substantially. This may not become evident until the seasonal rains end and vegetation starts to dry out, usually in October. At that point, locusts could concentrate and form numerous groups in many areas that could lead to outbreaks between Mauritania and Sudan.

Therefore, countries should remain extremely vigilant and undertake regular surveys in all areas during the next few months.

Elsewhere, breeding is likely to continue in northeast Ethiopia where hopper bands formed in August and were treated. The situation in Yemen remains unclear in the absence of surveys to confirm reports of adults on the Red Sea coast and swarms in the southern highlands. In Southwest Asia, a premature withdrawal of the monsoon is expected to bring summer breeding to an early end along the Indo-Pakistan border.

2 September. Unusually good rains may give rise to widespread locust infestations in the Sahel
Current situation.

1 August. Small-scale summer breeding expected during August

The Desert Locust situation is currently calm. Good rains have fallen in the summer breeding areas of the Sahel in West Africa and Sudan, and monsoon rains commenced along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border.

In the Central Region, locust infestations declined in the spring breeding areas in the interior of Saudi Arabia due to control operations and drying conditions. A few small adult groups and swarms moved southwest into the Asir Mountains in July and some continued to Yemen where they are likely to mature and lay eggs in the interior. A few small swarms could reach northern Sudan where scattered adults are already present. Remnants of swarms were reported in the northern highlands of Ethiopia in July.

In Southwest Asia, scattered adults appeared in the summer breeding areas of Pakistan along the border of India.

During August, small-scale breeding will occur in areas of recent rainfall in the northern Sahel between Mauritania and western Eritrea, along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border and, perhaps, in the interior of Yemen, causing locust numbers to increase slightly.

1 August. Small-scale summer breeding expected during August
Current situation.

3 July. Swarms in Yemen and Eritrea

In the past few days, there have been new reports of a few swarms appearing in the highlands of Yemen and Eritrea.

In Yemen, immature swarms and adult groups were reported in and near Sana'a as well as in nearby districts. So far it has not been possible to carry out surveys to confirm the reports. The swarms probably escaped from spring breeding areas in the central interior of Saudi Arabia where aerial and ground control operations are in progress.

There is a moderate risk that a few more small swarms will move from Saudi Arabia to the summer breeding areas in the interior of Yemen and Sudan in July. Recently, there were reports of swarms or adult groups in the Asir Mountains near Taif, Saudi Arabia.

A few small swarms from eastern Ethiopia moved into the northern region of Tigray in June. At least one swarm crossed the border into the highlands of Eritrea south of Asmara at the end of the month, and it will probably continue to summer breeding areas in the western lowlands of Eritrea and adjacent areas of eastern Sudan. There is a moderate risk that a few more small swarms may arrive from northern Ethiopia where control operations are in progress.

In northern Sudan, scattered adults and a few small groups of adults are present in cropping areas along the Nile Valley.

Elsewhere, the situation remains calm. So far, very little rain has fallen in the summer breeding areas of the northern Sahel in West Africa and Sudan, and along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border. Nevertheless, once rains fall in these areas, small-scale breeding will cause locust numbers to increase slightly but remain below threatening levels during July.

3 July. Swarms in Yemen and Eritrea
Current situation.

24 June. Swarms in Yemen

The Desert Locust situation is improving in the Horn of Africa, Oman and Iran but swarms have recently been sighted in Yemen.

In Ethiopia, a few immature and mature swarms moved from the Afar region in the northeast to the northern region of Tigray where they dispersed between Mekele and Axum, about 60 km south of the Eritrea border. Aerial control operations were carried out at two locations. New reports suggest that at least one swarm is moving west towards Gedaref and Kassala in Sudan. The situation has become calm in eastern Ethiopia where a few immature swarms moved back and forth across the border with Northern Somalia during the first week of June. Since then, no locusts have been reported.

In Northern Somalia, several immature swarms were seen during the first week of June moving on the plateau between Boroma and Burao as well as in the northeast near Iskushuban.

In Oman, the situation has improved in the north due to control operations and drying conditions. A cyclone in the Arabian Sea dissipated before reaching the coast and no rain fell. Immature adults appeared in the south during the second decade of June.

In Yemen, at least one immature swarm arrived in the north near Sada’a on the 13th. This was followed by reports of immature groups and swarms during the past week in the summer breeding areas of the interior near Marib, Hadhramaut and Shabwah. There was also a swarm seen in the highlands south of Sana’a near Ibb. The swarms are expected to remain in the interior and concentrate in the few areas that may be green.

In Iran, hoppers and adults formed groups as a result of spring breeding in coastal and interior areas of the southeast. Ground teams treated 18,000 ha during the first half of June.

Elsewhere, the situation remains calm. Seasonal rains have yet to arrive in the summer breeding areas of the northern Sahel in West Africa and Sudan, and along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border.

24 June. Swarms in Yemen
Current situation.

3 June. Locust infestations in Arabia and Horn of Africa

Important Desert Locust infestations are currently present in the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.

In Saudi Arabia, ground and aerial control operations continue against hopper bands and adult groups that formed in the interior as a result of spring breeding.

In Oman, local breeding is coming to an end in the northern interior where hopper groups and bands as well as groups of adults formed near the border of UAE. Some infestations appeared in farms along the border. Ground control operations were carried out in both countries.

Several immature and mature swarms were reported last month in eastern Ethiopia and in adjacent areas of the plateau in northern Somalia. Some of the swarms reached the central highlands north of Addis Ababa while other swarms moved east along the Somali plateau to northeast Somalia. Aerial and ground control operations are in progress in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, one generation of breeding is likely to occur during June in eastern Ethiopia and perhaps in northern Somalia where hatching and hopper band formation are expected shortly.

In northern Sudan, local breeding is in progress in irrigated cropping areas along the Nile Valley. Good rains fell in the eastern region that could lead to early summer breeding. There is a moderate risk of a few small swarms arriving from the interior of Saudi Arabia and perhaps from northern Ethiopia during June.

In South-West Asia, pre-monsoon rains fell in April and again in May along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border that could allow breeding to occur earlier than normal. There is a low risk that a few small swarms may arrive from Oman and perhaps northeastern Somalia in the coming weeks.

In West Africa, early rains fell in parts of the summer breeding areas in the northern Sahel of Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Small-scale breeding will cause locust numbers to increase slightly in these areas during the summer.

3 June. Locust infestations in Arabia and Horn of Africa
Current situation.

15 May. Swarm appears in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

An immature swarm appeared over Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 14 May. The swarm originated from breeding earlier this year on the northwest coast of Somalia where numerous small swarms started to form in early March. As vegetation dried out, the swarms moved up the escarpment, crossed the Somali plateau near Hargeisa, and continued to the Jijiga area in eastern Ethiopia. Ground and aerial control operations were launched immediately in Ethiopia but swarms continued to arrive during April. The swarms are highly mobile and have spread to Dire Dawa, the Awash Valley and, by the end of the month, there was an unconfirmed report from the edge of the highlands in Nazareth, southeast of Addis Ababa.

Breeding is expected to occur in areas of recent rainfall mainly in the eastern region near Dire Dawa and Jijiga, and hatching and band formation is likely in May. There remains a risk that a few additional swarms may appear in the highlands.

15 May. Swarm appears in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Current situation.

5 May. Locusts may increase in Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Oman

The Desert Locust situation continues to improve along both sides of the Red Sea due to control operations and drying conditions in Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

During April, adult groups moved into the interior of Saudi Arabia where one generation of breeding is expected in May. Several swarms moved from northwest Somalia into eastern Ethiopia where, despite aerial and ground control operations, breeding is likely to occur and hopper bands could form this month. Smaller-scale breeding is in progress in northern Oman and southeast Iran, causing small hopper groups to form. Pre-monsoon rains fell along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border where adults may appear and early breeding could occur in May.

Unusually dry conditions prevailed in spring breeding areas of Northwest Africa. Consequently, no significant developments are expected.

So far in May, there have been new reports of more hatching in northeast Oman near Ibri where hoppers are forming small groups. Hopper infestations persist in a few places on the northwest coast in Somalia. Control operations continue in eastern Ethiopia against swarms.

5 May. Locusts may increase in Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Oman
Current situation.

15 April. Swarms move into eastern Ethiopia

At least ten immature and mature swarms have been reported appearing in eastern Ethiopia from adjacent areas of northwest Somalia on 5-10 April. The swarms were initially seen in Awbere District north of Jijiga and later spread to eight districts in the Somali region. The swarms varied in size from one to 20 sq. km. and are highly mobile. Some of the adults have become mature and nearly ready to lay eggs. Aerial and ground control operations treated six swarms.

In adjacent areas of northwest Somalia, there has been a decline in swarm reports compared to the last week of March. On 10 April, an immature swarm passed over Boroma and, two days later, a swarm was seen on the outskirts of the town.

Survey and control operations are continuing in eastern Ethiopia while new surveys are expected to be underway shortly in northwest Somalia to confirm the latest developments.

The adults will mature and lay eggs in the coming weeks in those areas where rains have recently fallen in eastern Ethiopia. Hatching, which is expected about two weeks later, will probably cause hopper bands to form.

15 April. Swarms move into eastern Ethiopia
Current situation.

31 March. Swarms continue to fly over northwest Somalia

On 27-28 March, several immature swarms were reported on the plateau in northwest Somalia near Boroma and Hargeisa. One swarm flew over Hargeisa on the 28th. The swarms continued in a southwesterly direction and crossed the border into eastern Ethiopia where they were reported near Jijiga.

The swarms originated on the northwest coastal plains of Somalia from an outbreak that occurred in the past few months as a result of good rains, green vegetation and breeding in the Garisa-Lughaye area between Silil and Berbera. Although limited control operations were undertaken, hoppers formed bands and adults formed swarms that left the coast once vegetation dried out. The swarms are highly mobile and difficult to track and control. One spray aircraft is on standby in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia and national ground teams have been mobilized to eastern areas. So far, control operations have been carried out near Ayasha and Jijiga.

The prevailing winds are expected to concentrate the swarms on the plateau near Jijiga, in adjacent areas of the Harar Highlands, and along the railway area between Dire Dawa and Ayasha. The adults are likely to mature in areas of recent rainfall or runoff and lay eggs in a few weeks. Swarm movements across the Somali plateau are likely to decline in the coming weeks.

New unconfirmed reports suggest that some residual populations could be present on the northwest coast of Somalia where limited hatching may be in progress.

All efforts are required to monitor the situation carefully and undertake control operations in Ethiopia.

31 March. Swarms continue to fly over northwest Somalia
Current situation.

25 March. Swarms moving into eastern Ethiopia

In early March, several swarms formed on the northwest coastal plains of Somalia as a result of local breeding during the past few months. From about 11 March as vegetation became dry, the swarms moved south from the coast up the escarpment to the Somali plateau. Most of the swarms appeared between Boroma and Hargeisa with only a few sightings near Burao. Unconfirmed reports of immature swarms continue to be received in the past few days from the Boroma area. Since vegetation has not yet become green from recent rains on the plateau, the swarms are continuing to move in a westerly, south-westerly and southerly direction, crossing the border into adjacent areas of eastern Ethiopia primarily near Jijiga. Since 19 March, there have been no further reports of locust infestations on the coast between Silil and Berbera.

The swarms are highly mobile and difficult to track and control. One spray aircraft is on standby in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia and national ground teams have been mobilized to eastern areas. So far, control operations were carried out near Ayasha and Jijiga.

The prevailing winds are expected to concentrate the swarms on the plateau near Jijiga, in adjacent areas of the Harar Highlands, and along the railway area between Dire Dawa and Ayasha. The adults are likely to mature in areas of recent rainfall or runoff and lay eggs in a few weeks. Swarm movements across the Somali plateau are likely to decline by the end of the month.

Elsewhere, the Desert Locust situation is improving and becoming calm in winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea.

25 March. Swarms moving into eastern Ethiopia
Current situation.

3 March. Outbreaks continue along Red Sea and in Horn of Africa

The Desert Locust situation remains serious along both sides of the Red Sea as outbreaks continue in Eritrea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, in Sudan and northern Somalia, where hopper bands, groups and swarms have formed.

Although locust infestations should decline in the winter breeding areas due to control operations and drying conditions, there is a risk that adult groups and small swarms will form and move into spring breeding areas of the interior in Saudi Arabia, northern Sudan, and perhaps parts of northern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia. Small to moderate scale breeding is likely in those areas that receive rainfall.

In Northwest Africa, low numbers of adults are expected to appear south of the Atlas Mountains and breed on a small scale.

A similar situation is also likely in southeast Iran and western Pakistan, causing locust numbers to increase slightly.

3 March. Outbreaks continue along Red Sea and in Horn of Africa
Current situation.

26 February. Situation remains serious on the Red Sea coast and in the Horn of Africa

The current Desert Locust situation remains serious in a number of countries along both sides of the Red Sea and in the Horn of Africa.

Yemen. Survey and control operations have stopped on the Red Sea coast. Most of the late instar hopper bands have fledged on the northern coast near Suq Abs and adults are forming groups. There were unconfirmed reports of swarms moving into the highlands east of Suq Abs, near Taiz and between Ibb and Sana’a. One swarm was reported on the coast at mid-month that may have arrived from Eritrea. Breeding is also underway on the southern coast west of Aden. The situation is becoming very dynamic.

Saudi Arabia. Aerial and ground control operations continue against hopper bands on the Red Sea coast between Lith and Jizan. Earlier in the month, a few mature swarms were reported near Taif, and adult groups and a swarm were present between Yenbo and Al Wajh. There is a risk that adult groups and small swarms will move to the spring breeding areas of the interior.

Northern Somalia. Ground control operations are underway on the northwest coast against mid-instar hopper bands near Garisa using biopesticide.

Sudan. Ground control operations are in progress against mid-instar hopper bands on the south coast near Aqiq and on the central coast north of Port Sudan. In the northeast, small adult groups are scattered along Wadi Oko/Diib and one immature swarm was reported. In the northern interior, ground and aerial control operations were undertaken against groups of laying adults and hatchlings in irrigated schemes along the Nile Valley near Abu Hamed.

Eritrea. Hatching and early instar hopper band formation are in progress on the coast south of Massawa between Inghel and Mersa Fatma. Scattered adults are maturing in the same areas. Further details are awaited.

All efforts are required to monitor the situation closely and undertake the necessary control operations.

26 February. Situation remains serious on the Red Sea coast and in the Horn of Africa
Current situation along the Red Sea and in the Horn of Africa.

13 February. Serious situation continues on the Red Sea coast and in the Horn of Africa

The Desert Locust situation continues to be serious along both sides of the Red Sea where outbreaks are in progress in Eritrea, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Control operations are underway to reduce swarm formation and eventual migration to spring breeding areas in the Nile Valley and interior of Saudi Arabia. An outbreak has also developed in northwest Somalia.

The situation is most critical in Eritrea and Yemen as a result of favourable ecological conditions that have allowed several generations of breeding since last autumn. In Eritrea, hopper bands are present on the coast to the south and north of Massawa. Adult groups are laying eggs that started to hatch recently, and more hopper bands are likely to form that could lead to swarms. Despite ongoing aerial and ground control operations, seasonal crops are still threatened.

In Yemen, locust infestations are mainly concentrated on the northern coastal plains of the Red Sea between Al Zuhrah and Suq Abs where numerous small to medium-sized hopper bands and adult groups continue to form. Ground control operations are underway but are hampered due to beekeeping in the same area. Good rains fell recently that should allow ecological conditions to remain favourable. Infestations have also been reported on the southern coast near Aden where field operations are limited due to insecurity.

In Saudi Arabia, aerial and ground control operations continue in breeding areas along the central and southern Red Sea coast between Lith and Jizan where hoppers bands and mature adult groups are present. Locusts continue to spread to the northern coast, nearly reaching Al Wajh. There have been new reports of mature swarms near Taif, Mecca and north of Umm Lajj while adult groups are laying eggs near Yenbo.

In Sudan, ground and aerial control operations continue against hopper bands on the southern and central coast, and in the northeast near Tomala. Similar operations were also carried out against dense gregarious adult groups, some of which were laying eggs, in two irrigated wheat schemes in the Nile Valley near Abu Hamed.

In the Horn of Africa, late instar hopper bands as well as new hatching are reported on the northwest coastal plains in northern Somalia between Lughaye and Silil. Control operations are expected to commence shortly to reduce potential swarm formation and migration to the central plateau, eastern Ethiopia and Djibouti. So far, small mature groups and swarmlets have appeared in parts of Djibouti where they dispersed. Mature adults have been reported in adjacent areas of eastern Ethiopia.

All efforts are required to monitor the situation closely and undertake the necessary control operations.

13 February. Serious situation continues on the Red Sea coast and in the Horn of Africa
Current situation along the Red Sea and in the Horn of Africa.

3 February. Serious situation along the Red Sea coast and Horn of Africa

The Desert Locust situation remains serious along both sides of the Red Sea where breeding is in progress in Eritrea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, in Sudan, and hopper bands and small swarms are forming. Although control operations continue in all countries, more hopper bands and swarms are likely to form during February and March. There is a risk that groups and small swarms could move into spring breeding areas of the interior of Saudi Arabia.

In the Horn of Africa, a few adult groups and small swarms invaded Djibouti from northwest Somalia in late January and dispersed throughout the country. There is a moderate risk that this movement could spread into eastern Ethiopia.

Elsewhere, the situation is calm. Small adult infestations were treated in Mauritania, Niger and Algeria during January. Small-scale breeding may occur in northwest and northern Mauritania and adjacent areas of Western Sahara during February, especially if rains fall. Scattered adults are likely to appear in the spring breeding areas of Northwest Africa south of the Atlas Mountains in February and March.

In South-West Asia, low numbers of adults may also appear in the spring breeding areas along the coast in southeast Iran and western Pakistan in February.

Small-scale breeding is expected to occur in the spring breeding areas of both Northwest Africa and South-West Asia once temperatures warm up and rains fall.

3 February. Serious situation along the Red Sea coast and Horn of Africa
Current situation.

10 January. Control operations continue on both sides of the Red Sea

The Desert Locust situation remains worrisome in the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea. Ecological conditions continue to be favourable for another generation of breeding that could produce more hopper bands and swarms in Yemen, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, in Sudan.

In Saudi Arabia, ground control operations continue against hopper groups and bands and groups of mature adults between Lith and Jizan. Some groups are laying eggs and one mature swarm was reported.

In Sudan, ground and aerial control operations continue against groups of adults that are maturing on the southern coast between Tokar Delta and the Eritrea border, and egg-laying is in process. A mature swarm was seen laying eggs in the Tokar Delta. Ground control operations are also in progress in sub-coastal areas of the northeast against hopper bands and groups of immature adults near Tomala.

In West Africa, scattered immature adults are present in northwest Mauritania and one immature swarm formed in the Banc d’Arguin National Park. In Niger, ground teams treated a few adult groups in the Ténéré Desert.

10 January. Control operations continue on both sides of the Red Sea
Current situation.

3 January. Hopper bands and swarms continue to form on both sides of the Red Sea

The Desert Locust situation remains critical along both sides of the Red Sea. Hopper and adult groups, hopper bands, and swarms are forming in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Eritrea. Smaller infestations are present in Sudan. Control operations are underway in all countries, including aerial control in Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and Sudan.

As ecological conditions remain favourable, a second generation of breeding will cause locust numbers to increase further and more bands and swarms are expected to form in January.

The outbreak in northwest Mauritania has nearly come to an end as a result of intensive control efforts. Nevertheless, small-scale breeding is likely to occur in those areas that remain favourable in the coming months, including the north and northeast where good rains fell last month.

Reports of locusts continue to be received from locals, farmers and nomads in northern Somalia, especially in areas that received heavy rains associated with a tropical cyclone in November. Surveys are in progress to clarify the situation.

3 January. Hopper bands and swarms continue to form on both sides of the Red Sea
Current situation.