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Desert Locust briefs 2019

4 February. Swarms form and migrate in Central Region

A Desert Locust outbreak is in progress on the Red Sea coastal plains of Sudan and Eritrea where an increasing number of groups, bands and swarms formed during January as a result of a second generation of breeding.

In addition to the breeding, there were swarm migrations originating from two different sources. At least one winter-bred mature swarm crossed the Red Sea from the Sudan/Eritrea outbreak area to the northern coast of Saudi Arabia at mid-month, followed by additional migrations about one week later. Mature adult groups and a swarm arrived on the Red Sea coastal plains in southeast Egypt from the south at the end of the month. In the interior of Saudi Arabia, immature swarms invaded the western and northern edges of the Empty Quarter, coming from the southeastern Empty Quarter near the Yemen/Oman border where two generations of breeding occurred after good rain from cyclones Mekunu (May) and Luban (October). A few of these swarms moved to UAE and southern Iran. Adult groups could continue to move east along the southern coast of Iran to southwest Pakistan.

Aerial operations were mounted in Sudan and Saudi Arabia supplemented by ground control in both countries, Eritrea and Egypt, treating nearly 55,000 ha during January.

Breeding will continue during February on the Red Sea coast in Sudan and Eritrea, causing a further increase in hopper and adult groups, bands and swarms. As vegetation dries out, adult groups and a few swarms are likely to move north along the Red Sea coast in Eritrea to Sudan, and from the Red Sea coast of Sudan to the Nile Valley in northern Sudan. There is a moderate risk that some swarms could cross the Red Sea to the coastal and interior areas of Saudi Arabia.

In Northwest Africa, the situation remains calm. Local breeding occurred last month in northwest Mauritania and southern Algeria. If rains fall, spring breeding is likely to commence in March along the southern side of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria.

4 February. Swarms form and migrate in Central Region
Desert Locust outbreak.

18 January. Second generation breeding starts in Sudan/Eritrea outbreak

Groups of late instar hoppers, immature and mature adults are present on the Red Sea coastal plains between Port Sudan to Massawa, Eritrea. A small mature swarm reportedly moved south along the coast towards Massawa earlier this week, reaching Foro on the 13th. A second generation of breeding is in progress with reports of new gregarious hatchlings forming small groups in Eritrea. Ground control operations are underway in both countries. As ecological conditions remain favourable, additional laying and hatching are expected during the remainder of January. Thereafter, breeding is likely to decline based on current rainfall forecasts. Elsewhere, breeding is likely to be in progress in subcoastal areas (Wadi Oko/Diib) in northeast Sudan.

In Saudi Arabia, small immature groups and swarms began arriving on 6 January near farms on the western and northern edge of the Empty Quarter south of Riyadh between Al Sulayyil and Al Aflaj, and south of Haradh. Ground control operations are in progress. These swarms probably originated from breeding in the Empty Quarter along the border of Oman/Yemen/Saudi Arabia where good rains fell from cyclones Mekunu (May) and Luban (October). There is a risk that the swarms will mature and lay eggs on the edges of cropped areas. On 15 January, a mature swarm was reported on the northern Red Sea coast near Rabigh.

Survey and control efforts should be maintained in all areas.

18 January. Second generation breeding starts in Sudan/Eritrea outbreak
Desert Locust outbreak.

9 January. Desert Locust outbreak develops in Sudan and Eritrea

Favourable ecological conditions and extensive breeding caused a Desert Locust outbreak to develop in the winter breeding areas along the Red Sea coast in Sudan and Eritrea during December.

Although breeding commenced in mid-October and continued throughout November, the extent of the breeding was not fully detected until December when widespread hatching occurred, groups of hoppers and adults began forming by mid-month, and adult groups moved back and forth across the Sudan/Eritrea border. By the end of December, a second generation of breeding had started as several mature swarms formed and laid eggs near the border. Ground teams treated 7,235 ha in Eritrea and 1,247 ha in Sudan during December.

During the forecast period, first-generation hoppers and adults will form more groups and a few bands and swarms. This will be supplemented by second-generation hatching in January in both countries that will give rise to additional hopper groups and bands. Immature adult groups and small swarms could start to form by about mid-February. The extent of second-generation breeding will depend on rainfall and ecological conditions.

Elsewhere, small-scale breeding occurred in southeast Egypt, on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia, and in southern Oman. A few small groups or swarms may form in the Empty Quarter near the Yemen/Oman/Saudi Arabia border where good rains fell from Cyclone Luban. So far, at least one small immature swarm has been reported in central Saudi Arabia south of Riyadh near Wadi Dawasir on 6 January 2019. Control operations were immediately undertaken.

The situation remained calm in the other regions and no significant developments are likely.

9 January. Desert Locust outbreak develops in Sudan and Eritrea
Desert Locust outbreak.