Madagascar Locust Disaster
Madagascar Locust Disaster:
Just seen this article in the Guardian about the locust plagues in Madagascar and I must confess this is a job even PestUK couldn’t handle!
Madagascar needs over USD 41 million to save 1.5 million hectares (almost two-thirds of the country) of rice growing land before September 2013.
Locusts eat the equivalent of their own weight in a day, and can travel over 300 miles in a night. Swarm sizes can be 460 square miles, and contain about 40 to 80 million locusts into every half a square mile. A swarm this size could easily devour over 420 million pounds of vegetation every day!
The largest swarm ever recorded is said to have covered 310 000 square miles and weighed about 27.5 million tons – almost unimaginable.
Adult locusts live for a number of months, and lay their eggs in the soil in a pod. Each pod contains between 30 and 50 eggs and locusts lay 2–3 pods, 5 to 10 days apart. In suitable conditions, as many as a million eggs can be laid in a hectare of suitable soil.
The most effective method of dealing with locusts is to spray concentrated insecticide solutions from aircraft over the insects or onto the vegetation on which they feed. Understandably this is an expensive task, and one that needs to be carried out rapidly to have any effect.
The consequences of this disaster could be catastrophic. The loss of crops, and therefore livestock having unimaginable consequences for the poorer communities that will be most greatly affected.
Read the article here