Australian plague locusts, Chortoicetes terminifera

The Australian plague locust is a significant agricultural pest. It infests large areas, outbreaks are frequent and it can produce several generations in a year.

Australian Plague Locusts have a large dark spot on the tip of the hind wings and scarlet hind leg shanks. Body colour varies from grey, brown or green. Males are 25-30 mm long, females are 30-42 mm long

Where locusts come from

Australian plague locusts come from south west Queensland and the areas of New South Wales and the Northern Territory adjacent to South Australia.

How locust plagues develop

Large locust populations develop after rain in the warmer months.

Locust swarms migrate to South Australia from as far as 200km to 500km.

On arrival the locusts lay millions of eggs.

The mature locusts that hatch in spring may cause a plague.

Locust plague surveillance

The Australian Plague Locust Commissions monitors the movement of locust populations in Australia.

When locust populations are likely to cross into another state the commission undertakes:

  • surveillance
  • threat assessment
  • forecasting
  • control measures.

You can play an active role in monitoring locust populations by reporting sightings via the easy-to-use Locust Locator. This is the latest tool in the surveillance of locusts in South Australia.

Map showing where locusts are being monitored in South Australia in the region north of Port Augusta to the southern end of Lake Torrens

Locust plagues in South Australia

Major locust plagues occurred in 1844, 1871, 1934, 1947, 1955, 1976, 1979, 1992, 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2010.

Minor locust plagues occurred in 1950, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977 and 1984.

Report suspected cases of Australian Plague Locusts

Call the Emergency Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 to report suspected cases of the Australian Plague Locust.

Related information

Page Last Reviewed: 13 Feb 2015
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