A new generation of locusts have emerged in at least five Northern Cape towns. However, the department of agriculture, environmental affairs, rural development and land reform says there is no cause for alarm as controllers are actively working to prevent a plague.
For the current season, brown locust outbreaks – of which a new generation can emerge every eight weeks – have been reported in Upington, Kliprand, Gamoep, Carnarvon and Loeriesfontein.
According to the department, the outbreaks are the result of warmer weather conditions and soil moisture after recent rains in some parts of the province. Speaking to Food For Mzansi, spokesperson Zandisile Luphahla said the locusts have also made their way on to some farm properties.
“Most of the time, the outbreaks happen on unoccupied land. Currently, our locusts controllers are on the ground to control the outbreak. They usually go out early in the morning to spray, or at night.”
With the assistance from the national department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, teams of locust controllers have been deployed to affected areas, including nearby farms.
More outbreaks are expected
With the previous outbreak earlier this year, South Africa experienced a shortage of the chemical insecticides used to kill the locusts. However, Luphahla said this is not a concern in the Northern Cape as, this time around, a clear spraying strategy is in place.
“It has always been the case that when the demand is too high. There are concerns that we will run short of supply.
“We don’t spray during the day because it is too hot. So, we would be wasting government resources. We spray the chemicals when it is cool and there’s no sun, so that the chemical can work. We also don’t spray when it’s windy,” he explained.
With rain and sunnier weather predicted for the next few weeks, more brown locust outbreaks are anticipated in other districts of the Northern Cape.
The MEC for agriculture, environmental affairs, rural development and land reform in the province, Mase Manopole, called on people to cooperate with locust controlling teams by allowing them access to their properties.
She has also urged drivers to be cautious as roads can become slippery as a results of baby locusts moving from nearby farms onto our main roads