Desert locusts head for winter breeding grounds
Most summer crops have now been successfully
harvested in the Sahel of West Africa but control operations
continue against swarms of desert locusts that could
eventually threaten the fields of forthcoming spring crops
in northwest Africa, says FAO.
According to the October Desert Locust Bulletin,
small swarms that escaped control operations have moved
north along the coast of Mauritania to southwestern Morocco
on route to winter breeding grounds. Some of these swarms
laid eggs which have already hatched and young wingless
locusts are forming hopper bands. It is feared that
additional laying and hatching will occur. In Morocco the
authorities are closely monitoring movements in the south
and will undertake the necessary control operations to
protect fertile areas such as the Souss Valley which
produces key cash crops.
Strong southerly winds in mid-October carried several
swarms north from Mali and the Niger to central Algeria and
northwestern Libya. Elsewhere in West Africa, late reports
say that breeding occurred on a larger scale than expected
in central and northern Mali during September with some
swarms moving in a northwest direction toward Mauritania,
Algeria and Morocco.
Despite extensive control operations carried out in
Yemen, significant breeding was evident in a large area of
the interior bordering the desert wastes of the Empty
Quarter. Those adults escaping detection and control are
expected to form small swarms that are likely to move as the
area becomes drier towards the country's Red Sea coastal
plains and those of Saudi Arabia. If rain falls on these
coastal areas, laying could occur, though the risk of large
swarms is reported to be small.
Elsewhere, summer breeding decreased along the
Indo-Pakistan border and limited control operations were
successful in Rajasthan, India.
8 November 1996
Latest locust details
ProFile: Hot on the
trail of India's desert locusts
Previous Global Watch pages