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FAO Updates Locust Spread for Feb. 24

Feb. 24, 2020 (EIRNS)--According to the UN Food and Drug Administration (FAO), the situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are expected to form in the coming weeks. In the past few days, there has been a significant movement of swarms over the Arabian Peninsula, unrelated to the Horn of Africa, that reached both sides of the Persian Gulf. "Swarms" are groups of adult locusts that fly. Hoppers are the first five metamorphic stages ("instars") in the life of a desert locust, during which they cannot fly. Groups of hoppers are called "bands."

Kenya and Ethiopia have continued reporting of swarms, where they are mostly mature and have laid eggs. Hatching is causing an increasing number of hopper bands to form, with new swarm formation expected in the coming weeks. Aerial and ground control operations continue. In Somalia, breeding continues, and new immature swarms are expected to form in about a week.

In the last few days, a mature swarm arrived in Uganda, coming from Kenya. A small group of mature desert locusts crossed northern Uganda on strong winds and arrived in the D.R. Congo on Feb. 21. The desert locust has not been observed in the D.R.Congo/Zaire since 1944!

In the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia has increased ground control operations against hopper bands on the Red Sea coast and immature groups and swarms in the interior. In Yemen, another generation of breeding is in progress on the Red Sea coast, where hatching and early instar hopper bands are forming. Immature and mature swarms were reported in the interior during this past week. Because of the devastated condition of Yemen, surveys are limited, and control measures are not being carried out.

Along the Persian Gulf, several days of strong winds brought dense immature swarms to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and along the southwest coast of Iran between Bushehr and Kish Island. More swarms are likely during periods of southerly winds. Control operations were immediately mounted in Iran.

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