News

Play your part in locating locusts

Wednesday 12 April 2017

South Australians are being encouraged to play an active role in monitoring locust populations - by reporting sightings via a new webpage.


The easy-to-use Locust Locator is the latest tool in the surveillance of locusts in South Australia.

People living in both regional and metropolitan areas can complete a simple online form including the postcode of the location they spotted locust activity.

This data will help Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) and the Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC) monitor any populations of locusts in South Australia.

While pockets of locust activity remain around western Eyre Peninsula and in northern South Australia, the risk of a widespread locust plague in South Australia during autumn is declining because of recent conditions. However, landowners are still advised to monitor and take action to manage locusts as required to protect their crops.

Quotes attributable to Biosecurity SA's Plant Health Operations Manager, Nick Secomb

Australian plague locusts are a significant threat to South Australia's primary industries, with outbreaks known to occur and threaten parts of the state every six to 10 years.

While the APLC monitor locusts, we also rely on locust reports from landowners in regional areas to help monitor and manage the threat of locusts.

The dry weather conditions have kept Australian plague locusts at bay again this year but it's important that we all remain vigilant. We are especially looking for regional communities to tell us if they spot juvenile or nymph locusts, adult locusts laying eggs or swarms of migrating adult locusts.

This information contributes to a strong and effective biosecurity system, which is essential for protecting South Australia's status as a producer of premium food and wine from a clean environment.

Background

Australian plague locusts breed up in northern South Australia, New South Wales and southern Queensland when seasonal conditions are favourable. When wind patterns are suitable, locusts can migrate long distances so that swarms appear suddenly.

Locusts actively search for any green vegetation and their voracious feeding can devastate trees, annual crops and pastures.

The last major locust outbreak of Australian plague locusts took place in South Australia in 2010. The State Government's largest response to this outbreak was successfully led by PIRSA and helped save an estimated $465 million of production losses.

The APLC undertakes monitoring of locust populations in inland eastern Australia and manages outbreaks that have the potential to inflict significant damage to agriculture in more than one member state as a result of population build-up and migration. It is jointly funded by the Australian Government and the member states of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

Locust activity should be reported to Biosecurity SA via the Locust Locator or Plant Health Hotline on 1300 666 010.

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Email: Kate.Husband@sa.gov.au
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