Red locusts remain threat; rain hampering eradication efforts

red locust

The red locust swarm detected in the Kafue flats two weeks ago remain a threat. Heavy rains are also hampering efforts to eradicate the pests.

“The heavy rains have made most roads impassable, making it difficult for our scientists to do their job,” said Moses Okhoba ,director for the Red Locusts Control Organisation for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCo-CSA).

He said the fast breeding rate, with some insects already in the third growth state, was adding pressure on the organisation to bring the pests under control.

An outbreak occurred when the locusts reached a fourth and fifth stage of growth.

Okhoba said scientists sent to survey the swarm, found 10 – 15 locusts per square metre in some areas.

Spraying maize fields in the surrounding areas is part of immediate intervention plans.

“We first want to target areas that are near the maize fields to protect damage to the crops. Hopefully, this will get under way this week,” he said.

Government pledged K1 million of the K10 million required to exterminate the red locusts.

The potential outbreak was against a backdrop of army worms and stalk borers which invaded thousands of hectares of maize fields. Bringing that under control cost nearly K30 million.

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