EghtesadOnline: Desert locusts are expected to arrive in Iran once again, this time in large bands from Oct. 6, according to the spokesperson of Plant Protection Organization, affiliated with the Agriculture Ministry.
“Previously, locust swarms reached our southern provinces on Feb. 19. Up until August, which is when they left for Pakistan and India, the pest was fought on over 406,000 hectares in the southern Iranian provinces. Now, the swarms are heading back to their original habitat, that is the littoral states of Red Sea as well as countries in the Horn of Africa,” Mohammad Reza Mir was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official said it is estimated that Iran needs to fight off the migratory pest across 500,000-600,000 hectares this time.
Mir noted that battling the pest will continue until Dec. 15, which is the approximate time of their departure date.
“We are well equipped with sprayers, pesticides and other requirements to fight the pest,” he said.
In February, the provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Hormozgan, Bushehr, Kerman, South Khorasan, Khuzestan and Khorasan Razavi were infested.
Mir had said at the time that no damage was caused to orchards and farms in the affected provinces.
FAO believes this round of desert locust outbreak to be the worst in 25 years across East Africa and Southwest Asia, and the worst for Iran over the last five decades.
The first generation of desert locusts attacked Iran about a year ago. FAO alerted Iran of probable locust attacks on Jan. 21, 2019, IRNA reported.
The Plant Protection Organization of Iran battled the pest across 750,000 hectares in the previous round of attack, which cost PPO more than $2.74 million.
Desert locusts are yellow flying insects that grow to 10 centimeters and considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world. A swarm covering 1 square kilometer contains up to 80 million locusts and can eat as much food in one day as 35,000 people.
And they move up to 150 kilometers a day and 3,000 kilometers throughout their lifespan. Female locusts lay up to 80 eggs and live from three to five months in three stages: egg, hopper and adult.