Swarm invasion declining in Kenya
Numerous immature swarms persist in southern Ethiopia and Kenya. There has been increased swarm movement in Oromia (East Harerge, Bale, Borema, Arsi) and SNNP (South Omo) regions of the south. The few swarms that moved to northern Ethiopia (Afar and Amhara) continued to Eritrea and reached the Red Sea coast where they were controlled. In Kenya, immature swarms continue to spread westwards across northern and central counties where there are currently about 20 small swarms present, mostly about 50 ha in size. Some of the swarms are in community areas and therefore cannot be treated. A small swarm reached Keiyo-Marakwet county in the west and another one was reported today in Turkana county in the northwest; hence, there is a risk that a few swarms could reach eastern Uganda and southeastern South Sudan.
It appears that the peak of the Kenya invasion has now passed as there have been no new reports of incoming swarms in the past two days and no further swarm reports in the east (Wajir, Garissa). Intensive control operations are underway in Kenya and southern Ethiopia to reduce the potential scale of the next generation of breeding. If rains fall in the next week or so, the swarms will quickly mature and lay eggs that will hatch and cause hopper bands to form; otherwise, this will be delayed until the arrival of the seasonal rains in March.
In Somalia, hopper bands are present on the northwest coast and in the northeast where some have started to fledge and will be forming immature swarms. Intensive control operations are underway to reduce the number of new swarms that will form this month. Swarms that form on the northwest coast are likely to move to the plateau and adjacent areas of eastern Ethiopia while swarms in the northeast are expected to spread west along the plateau where they could mature and give rise to another generation of breeding from about mid-March onwards, especially if more rains fall. A few swarms could migrate from the northeast towards southern Somalia where crop damage has been reported from previous swarms.
Control operations continue in winter breeding areas along the Red Sea, mainly against hopper groups and bands that formed along the coast of Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent against hopper bands on both sides of the Eritrea/Sudan border. Any infestations that escape control in Saudi Arabia could form adult groups and swarms that would most likely move inland to the spring breeding areas of the interior. In Yemen, scattered adults persist mainly along the Red Sea coast and to a lesser extent on the Gulf of Aden coast in the south. There remains a risk that a few swarms may be present in inaccessible areas of the north, which could move to adjacent areas of southwest Saudi Arabia.
The situation remains calm in the other regions.