Locusts

Last updated: 6 December 2016

2016/17 Locust Season

In NSW autumn surveys by Australian Plague Locust Commission staff identified autumn locust breeding that resulted in high density nymphs developing in small areas of far SW NSW.

The outlook for the remainder of 2016 is for a moderate increase in adult population levels to widespread medium densities in far west/SW NSW.  Localised high densities are possible where high density nymphs developed, but no significant swarm formation is likely. A general population increase from very low densities recorded in other regions is also likely. However, habitat conditions remain favourable for localised breeding in several regions during November, which could produce a nymph generation during December. As vegetation continues to dry out, the extent of any summer nymph infestations will be influenced by the distribution of rainfall.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS) continue to plan and prepare for any potential plague locust control program.

Australian Plague Locust: Adult numbers were generally low and low density spring generation nymphs were recorded in far west NSW. In October surveys identified consistent low density adults in the far west/SW regions, but localised high density nymphs and medium density fledgling adults developed in a small area south of Broken Hill. Only occasional low density adults were recorded in the Central West and Northwest regions. There is a low risk of widespread high density infestations in any region before 2017.​

Spur-throated Locust: In Queensland consistent high densities were recorded in northern shires of NW and CW Queensland during September and October. There were several reports of swarms from the Winton–Cloncurry area in NW Queensland in recent months. Adults of this species usually commence breeding after the onset of the wet season. The unseasonal winter and September rainfall in Queensland and green habitat conditions throughout inland regions could have initiated early breeding in some locations. There is a moderate risk of swarms persisting in the CW and NW regions of Queensland during November and December.

In NSW isolated density adults were identified in the far west with scattered density adults recorded around Bourke.

There is unlikely to be any significant impact to agriculture in NSW.

Migratory Locust: Only occasional low density adults were identified in the southern Central Highlands region of Queensland in early October. Surveys identified isolated density adults in the Buckland Plains area, SW of Springsure and in the Injune area. These populations are unlikely to result in any issues for NSW.

Landholders are responsible for the control of locusts on their land. If locust populations reach agreed treatment criteria, LLS will supply ratepayers with insecticide to treat locusts.

NSW DPI and LLS will advise if any significant locust activity develops.

Expression of Interest (EOIs)

Air Operators can contact the NSW Rural Fire Service for an "EOI for Call When Needed (CWN) Helicopters and Fixed Wing Aircraft to Support Emergency and Other Operations."

Further information

Further information on current (and forecasted) locust situations is available from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture.