FAO :: Locust Watch :: Archives :: Upsurges :: 1996-1998 :: Oct-Jun '98
Desert Locust upsurge: October 1997 - June 1998

Sudan, Eritrea and Egypt
Heavy rainfall in October 1997 from central Eritrea north to the Sinai Peninsula ensured good breeding conditions along the Red Sea coasts. Swarms arrived and bred on the coast of Sudan in late October and reached northern Eritrea in early November. In Sudan, aerial spraying began in November mainly against swarms that were breeding. Hopper bands appeared from Tokar north to Port Sudan. In northern Eritrea, bands mixed with African Migratory Locusts formed by the end of November and control started against patches of hoppers and fledglings on the coastal central plains near Wakiro. Band control continued in both countries in December and in Sudan fledglings formed swarms from the middle of the month. Some of these swarms emigrated in January across the Red Sea to the coast of Saudi Arabia and probably neighbouring parts of Yemen. Others went north into Egypt where teams treated about 50,000 ha of swarms in January and February before they matured. Breeding continued in Sudan and Eritrea in January with teams controlling hopper bands and mature swarms in Sudan and hopper bands and laying groups in Eritrea. Control continued on a declining scale into February in both countries and extended into March in Eritrea. During the campaign, nearly 53,000 ha were sprayed from the ground and air in Sudan and more than 18,000 ha were treated in Eritrea.

Saudi Arabia and Yemen
Only low density locust winter populations were reported on the Red Sea coasts of Saudi Arabia and Yemen until the arrival of swarms in January and February 1998. Large scale campaigns followed against the resulting bands. Infestations in Saudi Arabia extended from Jizan and Rabigh and were heaviest between Qunfidah and Al Lith. On the Yemen Tihama, infested areas were between Bajil and Midi. Fledging and further swarm laying occurred in March, producing hopper bands near the Saudi/Yemeni border in April and a few new swarms in May. The campaigns continued into May. Saudi teams treated about 280,000 ha while the Yemenis about 18,000 ha.

Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia
Scattered locusts were seen in north-western Somalia during the winter. As a result of good rains, hopper bands and a few small swarms subsequently developed. Bands and fledglings were also seen in Djibouti in late February and early March. Two swarms and some adult locusts that probably originated in Somalia were reported in adjacent parts of Ethiopia in March and April where nearly 2,500 ha were treated from the air. About 1,300 ha were treated from the air in northern Somalia in April.

By late June, there were no reports of swarms from any of the countries in the Region, suggesting that the upsurge had probably come to an end.