FAVOURABLE BREEDING CONDITIONS
OVERVIEW. In the past week, only a very few mature swarms have been detected in northeast Ethiopia (Afar region) while several swarms remain immature on the plateau in northwest Somalia. The prevailing strong winds and cool temperatures have limited swarm activity in northwest Somalia as well as control operations, which are just now increasing as the winds have dropped in the past few days. No control has been carried out in Ethiopia due to a lack of targets and some areas could not be surveyed because of persistent accessibility issues. In Yemen, surveys are increasing in the interior where only low numbers of locusts are currently present.
WHY IT MATTERS. Good rains have fallen in northeast Ethiopia and parts of southern Djibouti that have caused conditions to become favourable for breeding. It is now critical for ground and aerial teams to find and treat any remaining mature swarms before they lay eggs to limit breeding. But it will also be necessary to prepare for eventual control operations against hopper bands that will form once hatching takes place later this month, especially in those areas where breeding could not be detected. Nevertheless, the upcoming breeding and control operations are expected to be on a much smaller scale than in the past two years and will be concentrated mainly in the Afar region.
CONTEXT. The start of breeding is likely to be underway in the summer breeding areas.
- SOMALIA. Aerial control operations continue, whenever possible, against several immature swarms that remain on the escarpment and plateau in the northwest (Somaliland). Additional ground teams are being deployed.
- ETHIOPIA. Low numbers of mature swarms are likely to be present and laying eggs in areas of recent rainfall in Afar. However, few swarms have been seen recently by field teams and some areas cannot be fully accessed.
- YEMEN. An immature swarm was moving about in the southern highlands, and low numbers of adults are present in the interior where good rains fell earlier.
- ERITREA. Low numbers of adults in the western lowlands near the Ethiopia border for summer breeding.
- SUDAN. Scattered adults in the interior for summer breeding.
- W AFRICA. Scattered adults in Niger and Chad for summer breeding.
- SW ASIA. No locusts seen during recent surveys in Iran, Pakistan and India.
TAKEAWAY. Current field operations in northern Somalia should be maintained while upscaling of surveys is needed in northeast Ethiopia and Djibouti.
- Central Region (SERIOUS) -- increase operations in northeast Ethiopia and southern Djibouti
- Eastern Region (CALM) -- continue summer surveys (Indo-Pakistan)
- Western Region (CALM) -- continue summer surveys (northern Sahel)