Swarm movements in the Horn of Africa as focus shifts to summer breeding areas
The locust situation remains a cause of extreme concern in the Horn of Africa and southwest Asia.
Second-generation spring swarms continue to decline in northwest Kenya due to control operations and migration northwards. A few swarms last crossed into northeast Uganda on 22 July. At least one swarm appeared on 1 August in the southeast of South Sudan near Kapoeta in East Equatoria, and control operations are underway. A few more swarms could appear in the coming days and transit South Sudan to reach the summer breeding areas in Sudan. Other immature swarms have migrated northwards to Ethiopia to join existing swarms, some of which moved into the northern Ethiopian highlands and northwest Somalia where control operations continue against hopper bands and swarms. Two swarms from Yemen invaded northeast Ethiopia at the end of July. In southern Oman, control operations are in progress against local breeding near Salalah.
Some of the swarms that continued east across northern Somalia may still reach India and Pakistan in early August. Thereafter, the threat should lessen especially as good rains are predicted to fall in northern Somalia in the coming weeks that would allow the swarms to mature and lay eggs.
A few swarms may appear in Sudan and Eritrea where conditions are now favourable for summer breeding. So far, only low numbers of mature adults are present in Sudan and no locusts have been reported in Eritrea. Breeding will occur within a large, widespread area of Sudan from Kassala to Darfur.
In Yemen, unusually heavy rains fell again in the interior where hopper bands and swarms continue to form, and breeding is likely to prevail during August and extend to the Red Sea coastal plains. Widespread breeding is also expected in northern and eastern Ethiopia. Consequently, Ethiopia and Yemen are likely to be the epicentre of summer infestations. Control operations are underway in both countries.
In southwest Asia, the situation has improved in Iran where few if any locust infestations remain. However, the current situation remains serious along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border where monsoon breeding is underway by spring-bred swarms, including those returning from northern India, and substantial hatching and band formation are expected in August. A second generation of summer breeding will start in September. Extensive control operations are in progress in both countries.
Although the threat to West Africa has nearly subsided for now, local populations of scattered adults are present in the summer breeding area of southern Mauritania, northern Niger, and Chad. Small-scale breeding will cause locust numbers to increase between Mauritania and Chad during August and September.