Saturday, October 31, 2009

Australian states warned on plague locusts

Something for Papua New Guinea to consider, given that we are right next door to Australia...

Article from: AAP
October 30, 2009 03:28pm

QUEENSLAND is facing a threat of biblical proportions as Australian plague locusts mass on the border with NSW.
Biosecurity Queensland has warned that the locust swarms, which can travel up to 600km in a night, could cause damage worth millions of dollars.
In 2004/05, locusts were responsible for national agricultural losses estimated to be worth more than $11 million.
Biosecurity officer Kevin Strong said the locust population in central western NSW was expected to soon form a number of highly mobile swarms.
"We need everyone to be on high alert for any sightings of locusts and report them immediately to Biosecurity Queensland by calling 13 25 23," Mr Strong said.
The ability of locusts to migrate over large distances in short periods of time meant virtually all of Queensland's agricultural areas were at some level of risk.
"Locusts can travel between 500 and 600 kilometres in a single night if the temperature, wind speed and wind direction are right," he said.
"Even in small numbers they are highly destructive.
"A single Australian plague locust can eat approximately one-third to half of its body weight per day throughout its lifespan.
"This means a locust swarm covering an area of one square kilometre will eat up to 10 tonnes of vegetation every 24 hours."
Mr Strong says if left untreated and with favourable weather conditions, locusts are capable of a seven to tenfold population increase with each generation.
Biosecurity officials are on stand-by with chemical spray.

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