FAO :: Locust Watch :: Archives :: Upsurges :: 1996-1998 :: Nov-May '97
Desert Locust upsurge: November 1996 - May 1997

Saudi Arabia
Heavy rains that fell over the northern Red Sea in November 1996 and along the Tihama of Saudi Arabia in January and March 1997 provided good habitats for winter and spring breeding. Locusts arrived in Saudi Arabia, from summer breeding in the interior of Yemen and possibly from Sudan from December 1996. Initial numbers of mature adults were low and they extended on the coast and foothills from Qunfidah to Jeddah. Similar low density populations were found east of the mountains near Taif. In January 1997, the coast was green from Lith to Yanbo and small-scale breeding and fledging was reported. Ground control began in February against grouping adults that were laying between Al Lith and Rabigh. Swarms were first seen at the end of February and they continued to lay in March. Hatching and bands formed over a large area between Jeddah and Umm Lajj that began to fledge at the end of April. They were treated by 30 ground teams and 2 aircraft in March and by 40 ground teams and 3 aircraft in April. In May, infestations extended 900 km along the coast from Lith northwards to Duba. Most had fledged but late instar bands were still present in the north. The large-scale Saudi winter and spring campaign ended in June. At its height in May, 70 ground teams and 4 aircraft were deployed. Between February and June 1997, the Saudis treated nearly 340,000 ha.

No winter or spring breeding was reported from the Tihama of Yemen.

Sudan and Eritrea
Scattered locusts reached the Red Sea coasts of Sudan and Eritrea in November 1996 and bred on a small scale. Sudanese teams saw swarms breeding in February 1997 and controlled 600 ha of breeding adults and hoppers in March 1997. Populations remained at very low levels in Eritrea throughout the winter and spring and there was no control.