Agriculture Ministry Readies for Locust Onslaught

(TPS News) —
A cloud of locusts seen over the Ramat Negev. (Flash90, File)

The Agriculture Ministry has announced that it is preparing for a possible invasion of locusts from the south.

The ministry stated that it is preparing for the possibility of the entry of locust swarms into Israel and is in constant contact with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The ministry has also checked its stocks of “friendly” pesticides that do not endanger humans, which can be deployed if necessary.

“It should be noted that swarms of locusts do not endanger humans and animals, and constitute only a ‘nuisance’ in the air and are harmful to agriculture,” the ministry underscored.

Israel last encountered a significant locust invasion in 2013.

A desert locust outbreak developed on the Red Sea coast of Sudan and Eritrea during December. Swarms have spread to the coast in southeast Egypt and on the central and northern coast in Saudi Arabia, and locust numbers are increasing along both sides of the Red Sea.

The FAO warned that new swarms are likely to start forming at the end of the month in some places. As vegetation is still green in coastal areas along both sides of the Red Sea, breeding will continue, causing a further increase in hopper and adult groups, bands and swarms.

Once the vegetation begins to dry out, adult groups and a few swarms are likely to move north along the Red Sea coast in Eritrea to Sudan, and from the Red Sea coast of Sudan to the Nile Valley in northern Sudan. There is a moderate risk that some swarms could cross the Red Sea to the coastal and interior areas of Saudi Arabia.

In Iran, at least one swarm arrived on the southern coast at the end of January.

“All affected countries should step up vigilance and control measures to reduce current infestations and lessen the risk of migration and spring breeding,” the FAO stated.

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