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Australian plague locusts

The Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC) undertakes monitoring of locust populations in inland eastern Australia throughout the year. The current locust situation has recently been updated, and the APLC reports that a major nymph infestation is expected to develop in central New South Wales during spring. Hatching is due to commence now and is expected to continue throughout September and into early October. For further information on the current locust situation, including areas that are most likely to be affected, refer to the APLC and NSW DPI websites.

Australian plague locusts (Chortoicetes terminifera) can cause severe damage to pastures and a range of field crops if they are not controlled. To prevent the build up of large populations, locusts need to be controlled during their early stages as ‘hoppers’ when they are unable to fly. Once locusts reach the adult stage, controlling them becomes difficult and expensive. Adults can move long distances very quickly and have been recorded travelling hundreds of kilometres in one night driven by wind. Several chemicals are available for controlling Australian plague locusts.

Australian plague locusts are readily distinguished from other locust species by the large dark spot present on the tip of each hindwing and red coloured shanks on their hindlegs. Adults are up to 40 mm long with a variable body colour of grey, brown or green. They are the most important pest species of locust in Australia due to the area infested and frequency of plagues.

Click here for images of the Australian plague locust.

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