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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Locusts swarm over large parts of Saudi Arabia

The kingdom's environment ministry battles locust swarms with pest control treatments

Locust swarms swept into Saudi Arabia, prompting an extermination effort to rid nine regions of the crop-guzzling pest.

Nineteen swarms were reported in the kingdom, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said on Monday.

It said that 5,100 hectares were treated by aerial pesticide spraying.

Since the start of the year, about 239,810 hectares infested with desert locusts were treated, the ministry's field exploration teams reported.

Pest control units were active in Riyadh, Qassim, Jazan, Asir, Al Baha, Makkah Al Mukarramah, Madinah, Tabuk, and Hail.

At this time last year, millions of locusts swarmed on agricultural land across Saudi Arabia after the Horn of Africa suffered its largest outbreak in decades.

The ministry said the latest swarms were the result of the inability of neighbouring countries to control the locust population.

Pest control before the locusts mature and mate will significantly contribute to limiting the population growth and spread, the ministry said.

It said that its field teams were more than equipped to deal with the infected areas, helping to eliminate the threat quickly.

Co-operation with the Centre for Locust Control and Migratory Pests by carrying out surveys and field visits would continue, the ministry said.

Locust activity in Qassim followed the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation's report on movement within the Mena regions.

It maps the migration of immature adult groups from breeding grounds along the Red Sea coast through the Asir Mountains to the interior near Riyadh and Qassim.

Updated: February 16, 2021 06:08 PM

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