Immature swarms persist in East Africa
Control operations continue in Ethiopia and Kenya against swarms that are still immature. Good progress has been achieved, particularly in Kenya where swarms are no longer arriving from the north. The swarms that are currently present in northern and central areas are smaller and much less numerous than one year ago. In Ethiopia, immature swarms remain in the south (South Omo, Konso), east of the Rift Valley in the Bale Mountains (Arsi, Borena), and to the northeast in the Harar Highlands (East Harerghe) where swarms were seen arriving from adjacent areas of northwest Somalia in the past few days.
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, breeding this spring is likely to be limited as control operations continue to reduce current infestations and well below-normal rains are forecasted.
In northeast Tanzania, there have been reports in the past few days of small immature swarms near Arusha in which some of the adults are starting to mature. These may be remnants of swarms that were previously treated.
In northern Somalia, late instar hopper hands are still present in the northeast (Puntland) and on the northwest coast (Somaliland) near Djibouti. New immature swarms continue to form in both areas and aerial control operations are in progress. The swarms are likely to disperse on the northern plateau, possibly reaching eastern Ethiopia near Jijiga and Dire Dawa. No reports of locusts have been received recently from central and southern Somalia.
In the Red Sea winter breeding areas, control operations are in progress against a few swarms on the central coast in Sudan where breeding is continuing. A few adult groups and small swarms could move inland to the Atbara and Nile river valleys. Local breeding is also underway on the central coast of Eritrea while the situation is calm further north near Sudan. In Yemen, low numbers of locusts are present on the Tihama coast.
In Saudi Arabia, control operations continue against hopper groups and bands on the northern Red Sea coast and against mature adult groups that are laying in the vast spring breeding areas of the interior. Early rains combined with unusually warm temperatures allowed ecological conditions to become favourable about one month earlier than normal, which could give rise to widespread hatching and band formation later this month.
The situation remains calm in the other regions.