Local News

Locusts plague Upper Hunter

LOCUST-PLAGUE-UPPER-HUNTER.jpg

The Upper Hunter has a plague of locusts. 

Hunter Local Land Services has confirmed that six properties in the area are confirmed to have Australian plague locust populations. 

Farmers and landholders are being urged to look closely at grasshoppers on their properties, numerous types are common at this time of the year, but not these. 

Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity Team Leader Luke Booth said if farmers suspect they have Australian plague locusts on farm, they should report it to Local Land Services immediately.

“These locusts are uncommon in our region, and there has not been a known outbreak in more than a decade, and with farmers trying to sustain pastures for livestock during the
drought, we want to keep it that way,” Luke said.

“We are encouraging any landholders who suspect they may have the locusts on their property to join with us in identifying this pest to enable proactive control programs," said Luke Booth.

“We are working with the Department of Primary Industries and affected landholders to develop effective control programs for the identified populations around the Upper Hunter.”

Hunter Local Land Services said the adults of the Australian plague locust can be readily distinguished from other species by the large dark spot on the tip of the hindwings and distinctive scarlet hindleg shanks. Adult body colour is variable and can be grey, brown or green. Adult males measure 25-30 mm long while females are 30-42 mm long.

It is hoped there will be a high mortality rate for the locusts due to their poor condition because of the ongoing hot dry conditions and a lack of available feed. 

However landholders are being urged to watch for any swarms, to ensure control measures can be implemented quickly before second generation hatchings can begin.

A good guide to learn about the different locust and grasshopper types can be found at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/locusts/about/about_locusts

If you suspect Australian Plague Locusts or have any other pest sightings or impacts to report, please contact your nearest Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer on 1300 795 299.

Image credit: Hunter Local Land Services