Immature swarms persist in East Africa
Control operations continued in Ethiopia and Kenya against swarms that remained immature throughout February. Good progress has been achieved, particularly in Kenya where the earlier swarm invasion from the north ceased and remaining swarms were smaller and less numerous than one year ago. Nevertheless, a few swarms crossed into northeast Tanzania and cross-border aerial control was carried out. Showers that fell during the last week of February may allow swarms to mature rapidly in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia and lay eggs that could hatch in late March, causing small hopper bands to form. However, spring breeding is likely to be limited as control operations continue to reduce current infestations and well below-normal rains are forecasted. As expected, an increasing number of new swarms formed in northern Somalia, which are likely to disperse across the northern plateau. In the Red Sea winter breeding areas, adult groups and swarms formed mainly in Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, in Eritrea and Sudan. Those in Saudi Arabia moved inland to the vast spring breeding areas where early rains combined with unusually warm temperatures allowed laying to start about one month earlier than normal, which is expected to cause widespread hatching and band formation. The situation was calm in the other regions.