Desert Locust situation update

By Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
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Desert Locust situation update

ROME, Italy, May 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Hopper bands in Israel for the first time in 50 years; adult groups in interior of Saudi Arabia As a result of egg-laying in mid-March and low temperatures, hatching occurred from mid-April onwards in the western Negev Desert of Israel and in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt where hoppers are now forming groups and bands in both areas.

In Israel, survey and control operations are in progress by ground and air to find and treat as many hopper infestations as possible before they become adults in June. The new adults may form small groups and swarms that could threaten agriculture crops. The last time breeding occurred and hopper bands formed in Israel was more than 50 years ago in April 1961.

In Egypt, insecurity is hampering survey and control operations in the Sinai. Breeding has been detected in a few places but hopper groups and bands may be forming in other areas that are inaccessible in central and southern Sinai.

Any adult groups and swarms that form in either country are likely to move south during June to the summer breeding areas in the interior of central Sudan that extend from Darfur to western Eritrea.

In Saudi Arabia, breeding continues in the northwest near Tabuk and control operations are underway. Some groups of adults moved into the interior near Hail and Riyadh, and breeding occurred on the edges of irrigated alfalfa crops near Gassim. There is a risk that some groups or small swarms could reach southwest Iran and continue moving eastwards.

In Sudan, breeding is in progress in the north where control operations continue against hopper bands that are forming along a 1,000 km stretch of the Nile Valley. New adults are expected to form groups and small swarms in May that could threaten agriculture crops. Smaller-scale breeding occurred near Lake Nasser in southern Egypt.

In Northwest Africa, spring breeding is in progress in the northern Sahara of Algeria and, to a lesser extent, on the southern side of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Control operations have been undertaken in Algeria.