Locust plague hits eastern Australia

Apr 14, 2010
Swarms of locusts have been ravaging crops in a vast section of eastern Australia following recent floods in the region, a top official has said.

Swarms of locusts have infested a huge area of eastern Australia roughly the size of Spain after recent floods, ravaging farmland, a top official said Wednesday.

Chris Adriaansen, head of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, said the quick-breeding creatures had hit from Longreach in Queensland in the northeast to Melbourne and Adelaide -- about 500,000 square kilometres (190,000 square miles).

"What we've got certainly is a very large and widespread infestation," he told AFP. "It's simply a reflection of the fact that we've had widespread rain across that entire area."

Adriaansen said some swarms covered areas as large as 300 square kilometres, and with about 10 locusts per square metre, "that's a lot of locusts."

Local media said the insects had already wiped out thousands of hectares (acres) of crops and were also damaging grazing areas and gardens in the key agricultural area.

"One farmer has about 400 hectares (1,000 acres) which will have to be resown," an agronomist in the town of Forbes, Graham Falconer, told public broadcaster ABC. "The are doing considerable damage."

Adriaansen said the insects, which had destroyed some early planned cereal crops but mostly fed on pasture, were set to multiply in coming months as their offspring hatch.

"Come the middle of September through to October across that entire inland area... we expect there to be some very large infestations again," he said.

Swarms are expected in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, areas which last month were flooded after broke almost a decade of drought.

Explore further: Essential oils help control fungus growth in Argentinian corn

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Locust breeding expected to rise

Dec 30, 2005

Locust breeding is expected to accelerate in the months ahead, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization said in a bulletin Friday.

Australian floods help ease the 'Big Dry'

Apr 04, 2010

For Australian farmers who have struggled to make a living in southern Queensland as their crops died and their dams ran empty during years of drought, recent floods have helped ease the "Big Dry".

Recommended for you

Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on

17 hours ago

(AP)—U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary ...

Uphill battle to tackle Indonesian shark fishing

Dec 17, 2014

Sharks are hauled ashore every day at a busy market on the central Indonesian island of Lombok, the hub of a booming trade that provides a livelihood for local fishermen but is increasingly alarming environmentalists.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.