An Australian Plague Locust swarm. Image – NSW DPI.
POTENTIAL sightings of plague locusts in the Cobar and Nyngan areas of New South Wales have prompted a warning from Western Local Land Services.
The agency is encouraging western NSW landholders to be on the lookout for and report any sightings of the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera) following a number of unconfirmed sightings.
The Australian plague locust is a damaging, recurrent insect pest of pastures and crops throughout Australia, that mostly occurs throughout central and western parts of NSW.
The Australian Plague Locust Commission’s April 2020 bulletin said the locust population level remained generally low in inland eastern Australia during March, but there was a moderate increase from the previous very low numbers in parts of Queensland and New South Wales. Click here to read the latest APLC bulletin.
Western Local Land Services said while there are numerous types of locusts and grasshoppers common at this time of year, landholders are advised to be aware of plague locust populations, and if they suspect they have plague locusts on their property, to report it immediately.
Senior biosecurity officer and emergency management co-ordinator, Robynne Wells-Budd, said landholders play a critical role in reporting sightings of plague locusts and to continually monitor the situation on their properties.
“Monitoring what is happening on ground is key, so that coordinated control programs can be initiated when conditions are appropriate for managing their impacts.
“It is highly important we get started on any control programs as early as possible to greatly reduce the likelihood of new hatchings which could lead to increased activity and populations in the coming spring,” she said.
Landholders that suspect Australian plague locusts, or have any other pest animal sightings to report, should contact their nearest biosecurity officer by completing an online enquiry form on the Local Land Services website , by calling on 1300 795 299 or for those on Facebook, via Messenger.
How to identify a plague locust
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.
Further information can be found on the NSW DPI websiteby clicking here .