Plague locusts may impact on towns as well as rural areas. As a result, many home owners are concerned about potential damage to gardens and houses, as well as effects on pets.
Generally, the adult or winged locust (shown at right) will fly in as a swarm. Often the swarms are not dense enough or of sufficient size for effective control by spraying with insecticides. In other cases, strict pesticide protocols prevent large-scale spraying in proximity to dwellings, water supplies or other environmentally sensitive areas.
Nevertheless many home owners, nurseries and park managers are concerned to protect their plants. In general, it is most difficult to totally protect plants in these situations, as locusts may fly in, eat varying amounts and then move on. The same area may be reinvaded by new migrations every few weeks.
Home owners should consider the following non-chemical methods of controlling locusts:
Emergency permits have been issued from the APVMA (Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority) for locust control with pesticides. Directions for using the insecticides malathion or imidacloprid are included on the permits. These insecticides are commonly used to control other pests in the home garden, and should be readily available from your local home garden supplier.
Alternatively, obtain copies of AVPMA permits from Local Land Services.
Users of agricultural (or veterinary) chemical products must always read the label and any Permit before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any Permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the Permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this publication.
It is a legal requirement that you obtain a copy of the permit and read it before you spray. The Pesticides Act 1999 is enforced by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority.
Home gardeners are reminded to read the labels of the products they use, as well as the permit. Again, this is a requirement of the Pesticides Act.
Be sure to:
The product label will recommend the amount of pesticide that needs to be applied to kill the locusts. The product label may also recommend an amount of water to mix with the pesticide.
To ensure you are applying the correct amount of pesticide and water, the output of the sprayer needs to be measured. The process of measuring the output is called calibration. It is illegal to apply more pesticide than the label recommends.
Applying more pesticide than the label recommends also wastes money and can cause unacceptable residues in fruit and vegetables. Applying less pesticide than the label recommends is likely to result in a spray failure, because the locusts will not get enough pesticide to kill them.