Massive Locust Swarm in Victoria

The first large-scale locust swarming is expected this week.

Authorities are predicting the warm and dry weather conditions will cause major swarming in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Chris Adriaansen, from the Australian Plague Locust Commission, says it will be an escalation in the outbreak.

“There’s certainly plenty of food around and plenty of moisture around, so the only thing that’s been holding them back so far, to any extent, has been temperatures, and that barrier is about to be overcome.”

The first Queensland swarm of the season of the Australian plague locust has been spotted around Cunnamulla in the state’s south-west.

Authorities have been warning landholders that Queensland is potentially facing its worst locust plague in decades.

Earlier this year, massive swarms of spur-throated locusts moved across parts of the central-west and south-west.

But biosecurity officer Graham Hardwick says the plague locust is the most devastating of all species, due to its ability to produce several generations in a year and move across vast areas.

“It’s only early in the season for locusts and they’re quite numerous in NSW down through Victoria and South Australia,” he said.

“There could be some issues around Christmas or after Christmas. It depends, it’s a bit hard to say, nature’s a funny thing and things could influence their numbers.”

Meanwhile, locusts have begun laying eggs in Northern Victoria.

While the eggs lay dormant over winter, the locust life cycle is much quicker in the hotter months.

Entomologist with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, Alex Il’ichev, says he’s already seeing evidence of locusts laying eggs.

“There are some females full of eggs,” he said.

“Just recently I got a sample with females without abdomen, which indicates that they’ve been laying their eggs, and when the field team collected them, they simply pulled them from the ground and they’re full of eggs.”