Desert Locust situation update 25 January 2017

Desert Locust outbreak in Saudi Arabia

A Desert Locust outbreak has developed on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia as a result of unusually good rains from July to mid-September 2016. So far, two generations of breeding have occurred on the coastal plains south of Jeddah between Lith and Jizan, and ground control operations are in progress.

The situation was exacerbated by irregular and incomplete surveys in the past few months as well as the likelihood that adult groups probably arrived from adjacent areas of Yemen.

Most of the current infestations consist of second-generation hoppers that have formed groups and small bands. However, a third generation of breeding is likely to already be in progress by some early second-generation adults that have matured and laid eggs, which are expected to hatch in the coming days.

In early February, immature adult groups and small swarms are likely to form from the current hopper band infestations. This will be supplemented by third-generation hatching in which hoppers will form groups and bands.

The infestations will remain confined to the Red Sea coast as long as ecological conditions stay favourable, but there is also a risk that infestations could expand to the plains north of Jeddah. Once vegetation dries out on the coast, adults will move into the spring breeding areas of the interior.

All efforts should be undertaken to monitor the situation intensively by increasing survey teams and to conduct safe and effective control operations for preventing further breeding and migration to spring breeding areas.