Ethiopia + 7 more

Desert Locust situation update - 14 October 2020

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© FAO

Swarms increasing and moving in the Horn of Africa

The situation is expected to deteriorate as more swarms and another generation of breeding commences from the Red Sea to Somalia, which could be supplemented by swarms coming from Yemen. This is likely to threaten Kenya where swarms could arrive in the north from mid-November onwards. Nevertheless, the situation is less dramatic than one year ago and countries are better prepared.

• ETHIOPIA. More immature swarms have formed in the Afar region in the northeast along the western side of the Rift Valley. While a few swarms have moved into adjacent areas of the Amhara and Tigray Highlands, many of the swarms have moved southeast across the Rift Valley to the Harar Highlands and down the eastern escarpment towards the Ogaden in the Somali region. Some swarms crossed into northwest Somalia. At least one swarm was seen copulating in the Dollo zone of eastern Somali region near the border of Somalia. More swarms are expected to move to the Somali region, including the Ogaden where they could mature and lay eggs in favourable areas or move further south. Ground and aerial control operations are in progress.

• SOMALIA. Immature swarms were seen in the northwest in early October and more can appear at any time. In the northeast, swarms have matured, and some have moved south towards Galkayo and Galgaduud to lay eggs. Hatching and band formation will occur while more swarms are likely to move south to central areas. Biocontrol operations are in progress.

• KENYA. A swarm was sprayed with biopesticides last week in the northern county of Laikipia. Subsequent reports suggest that it has split up into several smaller swarmlets. New swarms could start to arrive in November and December.

• ERITREA. Hopper groups and bands are present in some Red Sea coastal areas from Idd in the south to Mehimet in the north. Mature adult groups are laying near Mehimet. Ground control operations are in progress. More breeding is expected, causing hopper bands, immature adult groups, and perhaps a few swarms to form.

• SUDAN. More hopper bands are forming from hatching in the east between the Atbara River and the Red Sea Hills. Mature solitarious adults are present in the northeast and on the southern coast of the Red Sea between Tokar Delta and the Eritrea border where laying is imminent. Aerial and ground control operations are in progress.

• YEMEN. Breeding continues in the interior where hopper bands, groups of immature and mature adults, and immature swarms are present mainly near Al Hazm but most likely elsewhere, too. Immature swarms were seen near Sana’a while others are migrating south towards the southern coast where more swarms are likely to appear. Mid to late instar hopper bands are present on the northern coast of the Red Sea near Suq Abs that are fledging and forming immature groups. Field operations are in progress but continue to be hampered by insecurity.

• SAUDI ARABIA. Mainly late instar hopper bands are present on the southern coastal plains of the Red Sea north of Jizan. Fledging has commenced and immature adults are forming groups. Ground control operations are in progress.

The situation remains calm in West Africa and southwest Asia.