Desert locust swarms reported in western Africa

Despite extensive control operations to contain desert locust movements in West Africa, several hundred small bands of immature locusts were reported in Mauritania in late November, according to the latest FAO Desert Locust Bulletin (No. 219).

Small swarms began to form in northwestern Mauritania in late November and were seen moving to the northeast of the country, where they are expected to mature and lay eggs if rainfall occurs.

Breeding in the northwest of Mauritania also extended into the extreme southwest of Morocco, where small immature swarms formed and moved progressively north towards the Atlas Mountains. By the end of the month, some had reached the Oued Draa area where aerial control operations were initiated.

A few additional swarms are likely to arrive on the southern side of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria during December where they will mature and lay eggs if rainfall occurs.

Second generation breeding was also reported in northern Mali but on a much smaller scale, and by the end of the month most of the adults had moved north into Algeria.

Elsewhere, adult desert locusts in Yemen probably moved to the coastal plains from the country's interior on southerly winds associated with the presence of an unusually strong low pressure sytem over the northern Red Sea for a week mid-November. Heavy and widespread rains fell along both sides of the Red Sea from Eritrea to Egypt and from Yemen to Saudi Arabia. These mature locusts are expected to disperse and will lay during the forecast period.

No significant locust infestations were reported in Southwest Asia.

14 December 1996

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