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Desert locusts on the move in the Sahel

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A few desert locust swarms have started moving toward their summer breeding areas in the Sahel of West Africa and FAO has issued a warning that there could be considerable breeding of locusts in the area this summer. FAO's Locust, Other Migratory Pests and Emergency Operations Group has advised countries to prepare themselves for potential moderate-scale survey and control operations.

Extensive breeding was reported earlier within large spring breeding areas of northwest Africa. A few desert locust swarms first started moving from these areas towards the summer breeding areas of the Sahel in May. There were several reports of swarms arriving in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali and the Niger, as well as one report from Burkina Faso. Most of the locusts are still breeding in northwest Africa, however, where control operations are currently under way to contain the infestations.

Due to the difficulties of finding and treating all infestations in northwest Africa, moderate numbers of new swarms are expected to form from mid-June onwards and move towards the summer breeding areas of Mauritania, Mali and Niger. There is a low to moderate risk that swarms will move further east into Chad and Sudan during June and early July.

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