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Desert Locust Situation (Update)

1. Desert Locust situation update

The current situation continues to represent an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in Pakistan. In addition, the Indo-Pakistan border area faces an impending invasion from spring breeding areas.

Migration from the spring breeding areas in Baluchistan has commenced, and several immature adult groups and swarms have appeared since April 2020 in Lower KP, Thal desert, south Punjab, Thar desert. Control operations continue in all regions. Increased monitoring and reporting are required in desert areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border. (Courtesy: Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, Locust Watch, 8 May 2020)

2. Impact of weather on Locust Growth

Tropical type weather is most favorable for locust growth. Deserts with cool nights and warms days provide conducive environment for the growth of locust. Based on present run of climate models, above-normal rainfall is most likely over the south-eastern part (Sindh province and surrounding area) while below normal rainfall over Gilgit-Baltistan and adjoining areas of upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Normal rainfall is likely in rest of the country.

The expected warmer and more humid condition in the coming monsoon season may provide conducive environment for Locust in Sindh, adjoining areas of Balochistan and Punjab as well as lower KP.

3. Precautionary Measures

Widespread and Appropriate insecticides spray using aero planes/helicopters or special vehicles in the affected areas, is the only solution to control the spread of locust.

Weather Based Criteria for Locust Spread/Prediction

Parameters Threshold Remarks
Rainfall (mm) > 25 mm each in last two months Favorable for laying Eggs
Air Temperature 20-35 °C Favorable for Egg and Hopper development
Soil Temperature (Shallow Depths) > 35 °C Generally, favorable for egg development
Wind Speed (Knots) <13.6 Knots for Adults and <19.4 Knots for Swarm to take off
  • Favorable for Adults to take off.
  • Favorable for Swarm to take off