Ethiopia + 6 more

Desert Locust situation update - 26 October 2020

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© FAO

Another generation of breeding starts in the Horn of Africa

As expected, the situation remains very critical as more swarms form and a new generation of breeding has now started in Ethiopia and Somalia, which will cause new swarms to form by mid-December that are likely to move southwards and threaten Kenya. Although countries are better prepared compared to a year ago, survey and control operations need to continue to detect and reduce as many infestations as possible. In addition, locusts are increasing along both sides of the southern Red Sea.

ETHIOPIA. Numerous swarms are present along the western and eastern edges of the northern Rift Valley in Afar and Somali regions. While some of the swarms have moved into the highlands of Tigray and Amhara, most of the swarms are moving south into the Rift Valley to Asela, and east to the Harar Highlands and beyond into the Ogaden to Degeh Bur. A new generation of breeding has started in the far eastern portion of the Somali region where hatching and hopper bands are forming. More laying, hatching and band formation will occur in this area during November. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

SOMALIA. Immature and mature swarms are present in the northwest between Boroma and Hargeisa while mature adult groups and swarms are present and breeding in the northeast and in central areas of Mudug and Galgaduud. Hatching and band formation have commenced in the past few days and more is expected in the coming weeks, including the northwest once egg-laying occurs. Although the current swarms remain north of Beled Weyne and the Shebelle River, there are unconfirmed reports of locusts to the south. Aerial and ground control operations with biopesticides are in progress.

KENYA. A few small maturing swarms persist in Samburu county, and local breeding could eventually occur in the northwest with the Short Rains. There is a low risk that a few swarms currently in Ethiopia may arrive in the northeast about mid-November while the next generation of swarms that form in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia are likely to arrive from mid-December onwards.

ERITREA. Several immature swarms from northeastern Ethiopia arrived recently in the highlands south of Asmara where they are likely to continue to the Red Sea coast. Hopper groups persist on the central Red Sea coastal plains near Sheib where rains fell earlier this month. Fledging is underway and immature adults are forming groups. Ground control operations continue.

SUDAN. More hatching and hopper bands formed in the east between the Atbara River and the Red Sea Hills. Some of the hoppers were fledging and forming groups of immature adults. Hopper bands and immature adult groups are also present in the Tokar Delta on the Red Sea coast. Solitarious adults are forming a few groups in the summer breeding areas of the interior. Control operations continue.

YEMEN. Breeding continues on the northern Red Sea coast near Al Zurah where late instar hopper bands are present and forming immature adult groups. Mature adults are present on the central coast near Hodeidah and to the south. Summer-bred swarms from the interior moved into the highlands near Sana’a, Ibb, and Ad Dali where they were continuing to the coastal plains of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. A few more immature adult groups and swarms are likely to be present in the interior where they will migrate to the coasts. Breeding will continue on the Red Sea coast but is less likely on the Gulf of Aden coast due to dry conditions. Control operations are in progress.

SAUDI ARABIA. Control operations continue on the Red Sea coast against hopper groups near Lith and immature adult groups north of Jizan. Breeding is expected to continue. Ground control operations continue.

The situation remains calm in West Africa and southwest Asia.