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South African locust outbreaks under control for now

The worst of South Africa’s locust season seems to be over thanks to cooler climatic conditions. Various reports say that only Murraysburg in the Western Cape and areas surrounding Gqeberha and Sutterheim in the Eastern Cape are still fighting small, scattered swarms.

Nicol Jansen, president of Agri Northern Cape, said this season’s locust outbreak had proven to be even more devastating than that of the previous season, making it the worst in 25 years.

“It was the first time ever that we saw swarms measuring up to 4,000ha [in diameter], which also made it the first time ever that we needed to make use of aerial control [measures] to get the swarms under control. While highly efficient, this method of control is extremely expensive,” Jansen said.

Despite the vast size of the swarms, losses were generally low thanks to ground and aerial teams being able to keep the swarms away from irrigation areas, he added.


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