FAO :: Locust Watch :: Archives :: Briefs :: 2010-2019 :: 2019
Desert Locust briefs 2019

13 June. High risk of migration from spring to summer breeding areas where early rains have started

While spring breeding is declining in all areas due to control operations and drying conditions, there is a high risk of residual populations migrating to summer breeding areas. Extreme vigilance and preparedness are required.

In Iran, intensive ground and aerial control operations continue against late instar hopper groups, a few hopper bands, groups of mature adults, and immature and mature adults mainly on the coast of Bushehr, Hormozgan and Sistan Baluchistan as well as in the interior of Sistan Baluchistan. Teams treated 78 650 ha on 1-6 June. As vegetation dries out, more groups of immature adults and perhaps a few small swarms are expected to form in the coming weeks and move to the Indo-Pakistan border area.

In Pakistan, late spring breeding continues in a few interior and coastal places of Baluchistan where mid to late instar hopper groups are present and fledging and immature adult groups are forming. On 1 June, a copulating swarm was seen north of Uthal. Early breeding commenced along the Indo-Pakistan border in Nara Desert south of Khairpur where mature adult groups and hopper groups of all instars are present, and in Cholistan east of Rahimyar Khan where mature adults and early instar hopper groups are present. Control operations treated 1 495 ha on 1-9 June. In the coming weeks, groups of immature adults will form and leave the spring breeding areas of Baluchistan, moving to the summer breeding areas along the Indo-Pakistan border where more hatching and the formation of hopper groups will occur.

In India, groups of adults continue to lay eggs in West Rajasthan between Sam and Phalodi. Hatching commenced and early instar hoppers are forming groups. Control operations treated 1 340 ha on 1-10 June. More hatching and the formation of hopper groups are expected in the coming weeks, which may be supplemented by groups of adults and perhaps a few small swarms arriving from spring breeding areas.

Tropical Cyclone 02A (Vayu) is expected to move off the Gujarat coast of northwest India, which could bring good rains to the summer breeding areas further inland in Gujarat and southern Rajasthan as well as adjacent areas of Tharparkar Desert in Sindh, Pakistan during the coming days.

In Saudi Arabia, spring breeding has nearly ended in the interior except for a few places on the western edge of the Empty Quarter. Ground and aerial control operations continue against mainly groups of immature and mature adults and a few remaining hopper groups and bands, treating nearly 21 000 ha on 1-7 June.

In Yemen, adult groups are laying eggs in the interior south of Marib. Mature swarms were seen in the past few days in the highlands near Sana'a and there was one report of mature swarm nearly reaching Suq Abs on the northern Red Sea coast. Control operations are not possible. Some adult groups and swarms are likely to remain in the interior and perhaps on the Red Sea coast and breed while others could move to the Indo-Pakistan border.

In Sudan, groups of immature and mature adults are present in the Nile Valley of Northern and River Nile States between Abu Hamed and the Egypt border. Control operations are in progress. Most of these groups are likely to move south to the summer breeding areas of Darfur and Kordofan where they will lay eggs in areas that have already received early rains since the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is more than 200 km further north than usual. They are likely to be supplemented by a few small swarms arriving from Arabia.

13 June. High risk of migration from spring to summer breeding areas where early rains have started
Current situation.

5 June. Spring-bred locust infestations threaten summer areas

Intensive ground and aerial control operations continued during May against widespread infestations of hopper and adult groups, bands and swarms in Saudi Arabia and Iran that developed from two generations of unprecedented spring breeding. Swarms moved from eastern Yemen into the central highlands and a few continued into southern Saudi Arabia. A few swarms moved to southern Jordan during a brief period of unusual southerly winds while hopper bands and immature adult groups were present along the Kuwait / Saudi Arabia border. Winter-bred immature adult groups persisted on the northern Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia and the coast in southeast Egypt. At the end of May, adult groups appeared in the interior along both sides of the Egypt/Sudan border.

While the control operations have reduced locust infestations in the spring breeding areas, populations that are not detected or cannot be treated will form groups and small swarms that will move to summer breeding areas in the interior of Sudan and Yemen, and along the Indo-Pakistan border during June. As rains have occurred some six weeks earlier than normal in these areas, breeding could commence by the end of this month. Depending on the summer rains, two generations of breeding may be possible this year, causing a further increase in locust numbers by October.

Very little breeding occurred in Northwest Africa this spring so locust numbers are currently very low and will remain so. Summer breeding may start earlier than normal this year in Niger and Chad because of the May rains.

All efforts should be undertaken to control the current situation and be prepared for the summer.

5 June. Spring-bred locust infestations threaten summer areas
Current situation.

14 May. A second generation of spring breeding is underway in Saudi Arabia and Iran

As a result of unusually good ecological conditions, a second generation of breeding is expected to cause a further increase of locusts in the spring breeding areas of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In Saudi Arabia, spring breeding started earlier than normal this year and is also more distributed throughout the interior: along the eastern side of the Asir Mountains (March–present), in central areas between Riyadh and Hail (February–present), in the northeast between Jubail and Kuwait (March–present), and along the western edge of the Empty Quarter between Wadi Dawasir and Riyadh (April–present). A second generation of breeding is underway in central areas with egg-laying in the last week of April and hatching that may have already started. Ground and aerial teams treated 16,430 ha on 1-10 May.

In Kuwait, late instar hopper groups and bands were seen near Al Wafra and the Saudi Arabia border since the last week of April. Many of these started to fledge about a week ago and are likely to form groups of immature adults and perhaps a small swarm if not controlled. The infestations are likely to have originated from breeding that occurred in March along inaccessible border areas by swarms that moved enroute from Saudi Arabia to the southern coast of Iran. Control operations have treated 50 ha since 28 April. A few swarms may also appear from adjacent areas of Saudi Arabia.

In Jordan, an immature swarm arrived in the south near Al Jafr on 4 May that was controlled the next day. On 5 May, another immature swarm flew over the same area and reached Tafilah (south of Amman) where it was treated by air. In all, control operations treated 460 ha. The swarms are likely to have originated from breeding areas in Saudi Arabia and migrated during a brief period of southerly winds. A few more swarms could appear during periods of southerly winds, and perhaps reach southern areas of Syria or Israel.

In Yemen, locals reported several immature and mature swarms moving in the highlands between Dhamer and north of Sana'a during the past week. These swarms originated from breeding several months ago in the Empty Quarter. A ground survey is underway in the interior between Marib, Ataq and Shabwah where so far scattered adults and a few groups have been seen. Egg-laying is in progress in a few areas, and hatching is likely by the end of May with hopper groups and small bands forming in June.

In Iran, hopper and adult groups and a few hopper bands are present along parts of the coast from west of Bandar Lengeh to the Pakistan border and in the Jaz Murian Basin of the interior. A second generation of spring breeding started in late April with substantial hatching this past week that will cause more hopper groups and bands to form, which could give rise to new adult groups and swarms starting about mid-June if not controlled. Intensive control operations treated more than 18,000 ha so far in May. There is a risk that a few adult groups or small swarms could appear from Arabia at times.

In Pakistan, small-scale breeding continues in coastal areas of Baluchistan where limited control was carried out against a few hopper groups. Hoppers will start to fledge and become immature adults at the end of May and continue to about mid-June. At that time, local infestations could be supplemented by adult groups and small swarms arriving from Iran.

The longer-term outlook suggests that there is a moderate risk of a few swarms migrating after mid-June from the spring breeding areas to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border and also the interior of Sudan. The scale of the migration depends on the success of current survey and control operations. Therefore, all affected-countries should maintain these operations and report on time. FAO DLIS will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep all countries informed.

14 May. A second generation of spring breeding is underway in Saudi Arabia and Iran
Current situation.

3 May. Locust infestations increase in spring breeding areas of Iran and Arabia

During the past few weeks, the Desert Locust situation has intensified in the traditional spring breeding areas of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In Iran, substantial aerial and ground control operations carried out by national authorities treated more than 86 000 during April as breeding continued for a third consecutive month within a large portion of the south, giving rise to groups of hoppers and adults, hopper bands and a few swarms. Smaller-scale breeding occurred in adjacent areas of southwest Pakistan and control was undertaken. Breeding will continue in both countries and more hopper bands and a few small swarms are likely to form. There is a moderate risk that adult groups and perhaps a few small swarms will move this year towards the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas in about mid-June, depending on control operations and the weather in currently infested areas.

In Saudi Arabia, spring breeding commenced in the interior where hoppers are forming groups and bands. Aerial and ground teams treated more than 27 000 ha during April in the interior as well as on the Red Sea coast where winter breeding has ended. In Yemen, swarms formed from earlier breeding in the southern Empty Quarter and are moving throughout the interior of the country where survey and control operations were not possible, so locals were catching and eating locusts. Several swarms moved to Najran, Saudi Arabia in the past few days. A few small adult groups moved from eastern Yemen to northern Oman where they laid eggs in April and limited control operations were conducted. Small-scale breeding is expected to continue in Oman. In Yemen, hatching will cause locust numbers to increase significantly in the interior where hopper bands are expected to form.

Elsewhere local breeding occurred in northwest Mauritania where control was undertaken last month. Breeding is underway in eastern Algeria, but the situation is expected to remain calm.

3 May. Locust infestations increase in spring breeding areas of Iran and Arabia
Current situation.

24 April. Locusts increasing in spring breeding areas of Southwest Asia and Arabia

Desert Locust breeding is underway in the traditional spring breeding areas in southeast Iran, southwest Pakistan and in the interior of Saudi Arabia.

In Iran, groups of adults first arrived on the southern coast in late January from the Arabian Peninsula, about a week after FAO DLIS issued a warning. Additional groups and swarms appeared in February and March, spreading eastwards along the coast where they laid eggs that began to hatch from mid-March onwards. The hoppers formed small groups and a few bands. Although control operations were immediately launched, breeding has continued because of good rains and favourable ecological conditions. Currently, hoppers, adults and groups of hoppers and mature adults are primarily present on the southeast coast between Jask and Chabahar and in the Jaz Murian Basin of the interior. Smaller infestations are present further west along the coast and in interior areas near Bander-e Lengheh. Reports indicate that nearly 12 000 ha have been treated since February.

In Pakistan, a small swarm first appeared on the southwest coast in mid-March followed by several groups of adults that laid eggs. Hatching started in early April, causing small groups of hoppers to form. Control teams have treated more than 600 ha so far. Low numbers of mature solitarious adults are present in the interior of Baluchistan where breeding is expected.

In Saudi Arabia, a second generation of breeding is coming to an end in the winter areas along the Red Sea coast while a first generation of breeding has started in the spring areas of the interior where groups of adults laid eggs between Gassim and Hail. Aerial and ground teams have treated more than 76 000 ha so far this year.

In Yemen, several swarms and adult groups have appeared in Wadi Hadhramaut and moved further west in the interior to Marib and Al Jawf in recent days. These populations originated from several generations of breeding that occurred in the Empty Quarter near the border of Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia where two cyclones gave rise to exceptional breeding conditions from last summer to early this year. In the past few days, a few groups of mature adults moved out of this same area and were seen in the interior of northern Oman where good rains fell recently.

During April and May, breeding will continue in southeast Iran, southwest Pakistan and the interior of Saudi Arabia. Breeding is expected to commence in the interior of Yemen and, to a lesser extent, in northern Oman. Consequently, locust numbers are expected to increase further, especially in Yemen where it is difficult to carry out survey and control. Surveys should be maintained in all areas and control operations undertaken as necessary to reduce the scale of the breeding and any eventual migration to summer breeding areas along the Indo-Pakistan border and the interior of Sudan.

24 April. Locusts increasing in spring breeding areas of Southwest Asia and Arabia
Current situation.

3 April. Spring breeding expected as situation improves on the Red Sea coast

The Desert Locust situation is improving along both sides of the Red Sea as a result of intensive control operations that treated more than 80 000 ha during March and due to drying conditions.

Nevertheless, second-generation breeding is still in progress in some coastal areas of Sudan and Saudi Arabia where ecological conditions remain favourable, causing additional hopper and adult groups, bands and a few swarms to form. Some adult groups moved to the spring breeding areas in the interior of Saudi Arabia and laid eggs in March.

In southwest Asia, adult groups and a few swarms are breeding on the southern coast of Iran and hatching commenced at the end of March. Adult groups and at least one swarm appeared in adjacent areas of southwest Pakistan in mid-March where they laid eggs. Control operations were in progress in both countries.

During April, locust numbers will decline along both sides of the Red Sea but will increase in the spring breeding areas in the interior of Saudi Arabia, and coastal and interior areas of southern Iran and southwest Pakistan where hatching will occur and hopper groups and bands are expected to form. Some of these could eventually form adult groups and perhaps a few small swarms by late May. Adults groups may also appear in the Nile Valley in northern Sudan and breed near cropping areas.

In northwest Africa, smaller-scale breeding will occur in areas south of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria that receive rainfall.

All countries should remain vigilant and undertake control operations whenever necessary.

3 April. Spring breeding expected as situation improves on the Red Sea coast
Current situation.

4 March. Situation improving on the Red Sea coast but potential threat remains

The Desert Locust situation began improving in late February on the Red Sea coast as infestations declined in some areas due to intensive control operations that treated 80 000 ha in February and because of drying conditions.

Control operations are still in progress against second-generation breeding along the Red Sea coast in Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, Eritrea. There is a potential risk that any infestations that are not detected or could not be treated will form additional groups of hoppers and adults, bands and some small swarms as vegetation dries out further in March. Most of these populations are expected to migrate to spring breeding areas in the interior of Saudi Arabia while some could move to the Nile Valley in northern Sudan. As one generation of breeding is expected to occur in these areas between March and June, intensive monitoring and control efforts will be required by the affected countries.

Breeding continues in eastern Yemen on the edge of the Empty Quarter in areas that received good rain from cyclones Mekunu and Luban in May and October respectively. From there, adults and at least one swarm have moved to cropping areas in Wadi Hadhramaut. As vegetation dries out in eastern Yemen, additional populations are expected to arrive in Hadhramaut and central interior areas, and breed if rains fall.

In southwest Asia, control operations are in progress against adult groups and a few small swarms that were laying eggs along the southern coast of Iran in February. Breeding will continue, causing locust numbers to increase during the spring.

The situation remains calm in West and Northwest Africa.

4 March. Situation improving on the Red Sea coast but potential threat remains
Current situation.

15 February. Control operations continue against Desert Locust outbreak along Red Sea coast

Ground and aerial control operations are in progress as a result of a Desert Locust outbreak that developed on the Red Sea coast of Sudan and Eritrea during December. A second generation of breeding by adult groups and swarms continues in these areas as well as on the coast in southeast Egypt and on the central and northern coast is Saudi Arabia. Consequently, locust numbers are increasing along both sides of the Red Sea.

In the past two weeks, there has been an escalation in second-generation hatching and hopper band formation on the north coast of Saudi Arabia between Thuwal and Masturah, on the central coast near Lith, on the southern coast of Sudan near the Eritrean border, and on the central coast of Eritrea. New swarms are likely to start forming at the end of the month in some places.

In the interior of Saudi Arabia, groups of mature adults have reached the spring breeding areas between Zalim and Gassim where some of them have started to lay eggs. Immature adults are maturing along the western and northern edge of the Empty Quarter near Wadi Dawasir and southeast of Riyadh.

Control operations have treated nearly 85 000 ha since December of which 30 000 ha were treated in the past two weeks in Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

Since the beginning of February, moderate rains have fallen on the northern Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia between Yendo and Al Wajh while light showers fell on the central coast near Qunfidah. As vegetation is still green in coastal areas along both sides of the Red Sea, breeding will continue, causing a further increase in hopper and adult groups, bands and swarms. Once vegetation begins to dry 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 Iran, control operations are underway against at least one swarm that arrived on the southern coast at the end of January as well as against adult infestations in the spring breeding areas of the interior in the Jaz Murian Basin. Hatching and band formation are expected to occur in these areas by the end of February.

All affected countries should step up vigilance and control measures to reduce current infestations and lessen the risk of migration and spring breeding.

15 February. Control operations continue against Desert Locust outbreak along Red Sea coast
Current situation.

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.