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calendar   Saturday - April 11, 2020

Bugging Out

Hey, remember Africa? All those locusts eating everything, spreading across the Red Sea, all the way to the edge of China? And that Chinese fungus that was supposed to stop them. Or those 100,000 hungry ducks. Yeah, right.

At least it isn’t a coronavirus post.

New thing learned today: immature locusts that can’t yet fly are called hoppers.



Locusts, Round Two: 20x more bugs, just as hungry

image

The little chompers are breeding like mad all over, over there. There could be 400 times as many of them by June.

KAMPALA, Uganda – Weeks before the coronavirus spread through much of the world, parts of Africa were already threatened by another kind of plague, the biggest locust outbreak some countries had seen in 70 years.

Now the second wave of the voracious insects, some 20 times the size of the first, is arriving. Billions of the young desert locusts are winging in from breeding grounds in Somalia in search of fresh vegetation springing up with seasonal rains.

Millions of already vulnerable people are at risk. And as they gather to try to combat the locusts, often in vain, they risk spreading the virus — a topic that comes a distant second for many in rural areas.

It is the locusts that “everyone is talking about,” said Yoweri Aboket, a farmer in Uganda. “Once they land in your garden they do total destruction. Some people will even tell you that the locusts are more destructive than the coronavirus. There are even some who don’t believe that the virus will reach here.”

Some farmers in Abokat’s village near the Kenyan border bang metal pans, whistle or throw stones to try to drive the locusts away. But mostly they watch in frustration, largely barred by a coronavirus lockdown from gathering outside their homes.

Aww crap, it is a coronavirus post. EVERYTHING is a coronavirus post.


Ok, this place stays on topic.

Taken in it’s entirety from Locust Watch, along with the above map. It’s part of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization:

Desert Locust situation update 8 April 2020

Swarm increase expected in East Africa

Widespread rains that fell in late March could allow a dramatic increase in locust numbers in East Africa, eastern Yemen and southern Iran in the coming months.

EAST AFRICA
The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as hopper bands and an increasing number of new swarms form in northern and central Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Somalia. This represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods because it coincides with the beginning of the long rains and the planting season. Although ground and aerial control operations are in progress, widespread rains that fell in late March will allow the new swarms to mostly remain, mature and lay eggs while a few swarms could move from Kenya to Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. During May, the eggs will hatch into hopper bands that will form new swarms in late June and July, which coincides with the start of the harvest.
● KENYA. Swarms appear to be increasing in size in some central and northern areas with some moving westwards.
● ETHIOPIA. A large swarm was reported in the south (SNNPR) today.
● UGANDA. Several immature and maturing swarms appeared in the northeast (Katakwi, Amuria, Agago districts) on 5-7 April. The military carried out control operations. Additional swarms may appear in these areas from Kenya and move towards the northwest.

ARABIAN PENINSULA
Spring breeding is underway. The situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate.
● YEMEN. An immature swarm was seen on the coast at the Oman border and another one north of Aden, and adults are laying on the eastern plateau.
● SAUDI ARABIA. More hatching and early instar bands form near the Persian Gulf where control operations continue.
● OMAN. Control underway against hopper and adult groups in the north. A few immature adult groups seen in the south.

SOUTHWEST ASIA
Spring breeding is underway. The situation in Iran is becoming increasingly worrisome.
● IRAN. An increasing number of hopper bands are forming along the southern coast from earlier swarm laying.
● PAKISTAN. Control underway against hopper groups in Baluchistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/11/2020 at 10:36 AM   
Filed Under: • AfricaMiscellaneous •  
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