Kenya + 5 more

Desert Locust Situation Update, 11 November 2021: Poor rains may limit breeding


OVERVIEW. At least one more small mature swarm arrived in northeast Kenya three days ago. About three separate swarms have arrived since 1 November; however, it is difficult to be precise because the swarms tend to split up, sometimes regroup, cross back and forth into southern Ethiopia, and are often reported more than once as they move west from Mandera towards Moyale. In Somalia, small early instar hopper bands are present in the northeast from local breeding while more solitarious adults were seen along the Ethiopian border in the northwest. In Yemen, breeding is underway along parts of the southern coast and a few small hopper bands have formed. Surveys are yet to commence in winter breeding areas on the Red Sea coastal plains. No locusts have been seen in adjacent areas of southwest Saudi Arabia. No reports from Eritrea and Sudan.

WHY IT MATTERS. The small mature swarms that have appeared so far in northeast Kenya and the possibility of a few more small swarms arriving in the coming weeks means that limited breeding is likely to occur in the extreme north of Mandera, Wajir, and Marsabit counties near the Ethiopia border, causing small hopper bands to form in December. In Somalia, new forms could start to form in about mid-December from current hopper bands in the northeast and small-scale breeding could commence shortly in the northwest. However, breeding elsewhere along the plateau in northern and central Somalia as well as adjacent areas of eastern Ethiopia to nearly the Juba River is likely to be very limited since little rain has fallen in the past month. According to the latest predictions, more rainfall is unlikely in these areas in the coming month. Therefore, the potential threat and scale of any swarms migrating to Kenya towards the end of this year will depend on the success of current survey and control operations in northern Somalia, the continuation of supplementary survey and control efforts in eastern Ethiopia, and whether more rains fall during the next four weeks. Given these uncertainties, intensive efforts should be focused on Somalia, Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. As current breeding on the southern coast of Yemen is likely to cause locust numbers to increase, survey and control efforts should be upscaled. A few swarms from northern Ethiopia and the interior of Yemen are still expected to appear in the winter breeding areas along the Red Sea coast of Eritrea and Yemen, respectively.

CONTEXT. Current breeding has been limited by poor rains in the Horn of Africa.
SOMALIA. Control operations continue against small early instar hopper bands in the NE; solitarious adults in the NW that may breed.
ETHIOPIA. A few mature swarms seen near the Kenya border.
ERITREA. A few small swarms from northern Ethiopia likely to appear on the Red Sea coast.
YEMEN. Small hopper bands form on the southern coast from local breeding; a few small swarms from the interior may reach the Red Sea coast.
SAUDI ARABIA. No locusts in the southwest but may arrive from nearby Yemen.

TAKEAWAY. Intensify current survey and control efforts to reduce breeding in the Horn of Africa.
• Central Region (SERIOUS) – maintain operations (Ethiopia, Somalia); increase operations (Eritrea, N. Kenya, Yemen)
• Western Region (CALM) – no significant activities
• Eastern Region (CALM) – no significant activities