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Locust plague in the Middle East

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

A plague of locusts fly above the road between Belo Tsiribihina and Morondava. Madagascar is battling its worst locust plague since the 1950s. People are going hungry, as the insects have destroyed so much of the island’s crops. Measures to fight the plague have been hampered by a lack of funds and poor organisation.

 

Yemen braces for locust ‘plague’

by Adel Aldaghbashy6ACAA999C6EBF32B61E6BA788D0E171A

Speed read

  • Many juvenile locusts have matured into flying adults
  • Presence of vital honeybees limits insecticide control efforts
  • Any outbreak could go on to hit Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran

Yemen is bracing itself for a “locust plague” that scientists are unable to stop due to fears that any intervention would also kill bees that are vital to its economy.

The country’s Desert Locust Control Centre issued a warning on 18 April that many desert locusts in the country had reached their flying adult phase, while the remaining juveniles could do likewise in a matter of weeks.

The centre says control efforts this month, especially in the southern coastal province of Shabwah, have largely failed. Yemen is already struggling under the weight of civil war, which has made many affected areas unsafe.

“The intervention process to control locusts through insecticide spraying was very difficult due to a number of obstacles, the most important of which were the security aspect and the presence of beehives,” says Ahmed Al-Eryani, a spokesman for the centre. This is because pesticide spraying is likely to kill the bee populations crucial to the region’s agriculture and honey production, he explains.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.