General Situation during March 2011
Forecast until mid-May 2011
Desert Locust infestations persisted during March in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Mauritania as a result of continued breeding. Substantial aerial and ground control operations were undertaken against hopper bands and swarms on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia. Control operations declined in Sudan, and northwest Mauritania, but increased in Egypt. Smaller scale operations took place in southern Morocco and Algeria. If the remaining infestations in Saudi Arabia are not controlled, new adult groups and small swarms could form on the coast and move into the interior during April. From early May onwards, there is an increased risk that locusts could cross the Red Sea to Sudan. In Northwest Africa, adults and small groups in northwest Mauritania and southern Morocco could move to the southern side of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria and lay eggs. Therefore, all efforts should be made to control current infestations in order to reduce migration to the spring breeding areas.
Western Region. Locust infestations declined during March in northwest Mauritania even though small-scale breeding continued for a sixth consecutive month, and hoppers and adults formed small groups that were treated (4,768 ha). Small adult groups and two small swarms appeared in adjacent areas of southern Western Sahara in Morocco and laid eggs. Control teams treated 314 ha. Limited control operations (290 ha) were also carried out in the central Sahara of Algeria against adult groups. A few adults were reported on the Tamesna Plains in northern Niger. During the forecast period, locust numbers are expected to continue to decline in Mauritania although limited hatching will occur in the northwest and in adjacent areas of Western Sahara. Locusts are likely to concentrate and form small groups in areas that remain green. There is a moderate risk that adults and small groups could move northwards to the southern side of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and breed on a small scale.
Central Region. Aerial and ground control operations increased during March in Saudi Arabia where more than 30,000 ha of hopper bands and groups of hoppers and adults were treated on the central Red Sea coastal plains. Two small immature swarms formed and were treated in one area. Locust infestations declined on the Red Sea coast in Sudan due to on-going control operations (3,740 ha) against hopper bands and adult groups. Hatching continued on the southeast coast in Egypt and ground teams treated some 2,200 ha of hopper bands and groups of hoppers and adults. A few adults were seen in northern Oman and in crops on the Red Sea coast in Yemen. During the forecast period, small groups and swarms could form on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia and move into the spring breeding areas of the interior of the country. There is an increased risk that a few groups or swarmlets could cross the Red Sea to Sudan from early May onwards.
Eastern Region. Low numbers of locusts appeared in the spring breeding areas in western Pakistan in early March. During the forecast period, small-scale breeding in areas of recent rainfall will cause locust numbers to increase slightly but remain low and below threatening levels. A similar situation is expected in adjacent areas of southeast Iran.