Desert Locust Outbreak in Yemen Could Plague Surrounding Countries
Posted by feww on April 13, 2016
Desert Locust outbreak in Yemen poses a potential threat to crops in the region
FAO has urged Yemen’s neighbors and other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iran, to take action to prevent the destructive insects from reaching breeding areas in their territories.
Strict vigilance is also required in Morocco and Algeria, especially in areas south of the Atlas Mountains, which could become possible breeding grounds for Desert Locust that have gathered in parts of the Western Sahara, Morocco and Mauritania, FAO added.
“The extent of current Desert Locust breeding in Yemen is not well known since survey teams are unable to access most areas. However, as vegetation dries out along the coast more groups, bands and small swarms are likely to form,” said Keith Cressman, FAO Senior Locust Forecasting Officer.
‘A Force of Nature’
“Desert Locust hoppers can form vast ground-based bands. These can eventually turn into adult locust swarms, which, numbering in the tens of millions can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind,” said FAO.
Female locusts can lay 300 eggs within their lifetime while an adult insect can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day — about two grams every day. A very small swarm eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people and the devastating impact locusts can have on crops poses a major threat to food security, especially in already vulnerable areas.