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Desert Locust situation update 19 October 2020

Swarms continue in Ethiopia and Somalia

More swarms are forming from current breeding in Ethiopia and a new generation of laying has started in central Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, which could be supplemented by swarms coming from Yemen. Breeding is also underway on the Red Sea coastal plains. Consequently, additional swarm migrations and further increases in locust numbers can be expected but the situation is less dramatic than one year ago and countries are better prepared.

ETHIOPIA. Hopper bands are slowly declining in the Afar region of the northeast due to control operations and fledging. However, numerous immature adult groups and swarms continue to form and are present, albeit slightly less than the previous week, in the northern Rift Valley on the western side along the edge of the Amhara/Tigray highlands as far north as Mekele and on the eastern side in the Harar Highlands to Jijiga. Some swarms were seen near Addis Ababa and in the Ogaden south of Degeh Bur. A few of the swarms are mature and could breed. Ground and aerial control operations are in progress. More swarms are expected to move to the Somali region, including the Ogaden, where they are likely to mature and lay eggs in favourable areas while other immature swarms could continue southwards.

SOMALIA. Mainly immature and a few mature swarms are arriving in the northwest between Boroma and Hargeisa. In the northeast, an increasing number of mature adult groups and swarms are moving south, reaching Mudug and Galgaduud with egg-laying occurring north of Dusa Mareb. Hatching and band formation will occur while some swarms could continue south to Hiiran. Biocontrol operations are in progress.

KENYA. A few small maturing swarms persist in Samburu county, and local breeding could eventually occur in the northwest with the Short Rains. There is a low risk that a few swarms currently in Ethiopia may arrive in the northeast about mid-November while the next generation of swarms that form in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia are likely to arrive from mid-December onwards.

ERITREA. Hopper groups are present in the central highlands northwest of Asmat, on the Red Sea coastal plains near Sheib and Mehimet, and in the western lowlands near Kerkebet. Ground control operations are in progress. Adult groups are likely to form and more breeding is expected on the Red Sea coast. Swarms may arrive from northern Ethiopia.

SUDAN. Hopper bands continue in the east between the Atbara River and the Red Sea Hills mixed with some groups of mature adults, some of which are laying eggs near the Atbara River. Control operations continue. Mature solitarious adults are present in the northeast and laying eggs in a few places along Wadi Oko/Diib.

YEMEN. Breeding is ending in the interior where infestations have declined due to control operations, migration, no significant rains for the past month and drying conditions; hence, only a few late-instar hopper bands remain near Al Hazm. A few swarms from the interior may appear on the southern coast. More immature adult groups and swarms are forming on the northern Red Sea coastal near Suq Abs from local breeding. Control operations are in progress.

SAUDI ARABIA. Late instar hopper bands are present on the southern coastal plains of the Red Sea north of Jizan where immature adults are forming groups. Mid to late instar bands are present further north between Qunfidah and Lith that are likely to form immature adult groups. Ground control operations continue.

The situation remains calm in West Africa and southwest Asia where no significant developments will occur.

Previous updates

Latest Desert Locust Bulletin (No. 504, September 2020)

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Previous Desert Locust Bulletin (No. 503, August 2020)

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Swarm on 15 Oct over the Harar Highlands, Ethiopia (click to zoom)

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6-month precipitation forecast (Oct 2020)

Somalia (Oct 2020)

Ethiopia (Oct 2020)