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Locust threat rears head again

THE State Government says it will help local councils in the coming weeks to combat significant bands of locust hoppers, and move to curb their threat in autumn.

Agriculture minister Michael O’Brien said locusts were now particularly prevalent in the Barossa Valley and some areas of the Mallee, Riverland and Mid North.

“Second generation locusts have started to band together in some of these areas, presenting a potential threat to autumn sowing,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Unless we get on top of this second generation of hoppers now, there will be far greater problems in autumn.

“The next few weeks will be critical, as once the locusts are on the wing there will not be a viable treatment option.

“We will be assisting councils where they have identified significant banding of locust hoppers.

“This support will include chemicals and assistance in targeting locusts and, using contractors, treating significant hopper bands on roadsides and public land.”

Mr O’Brien said there would not be any aerial spraying at this stage.

“The locust targets are too dispersed and bands too small for safe or effective aerial treatment,” he said.

“We cannot spray aerially near townships, watercourses, vineyards or fruit blocks.

“If left untreated, locusts can make a meal of ovals, reserves, racecourses, roadside edges and they are even attracted to golf courses.

“While the state’s grain harvest is mostly in the bin and locusts are no threat to current production, they will pose a threat at sowing time if locust populations aren’t kept under control now.”

Biosecurity SA executive director Will Zacharin reminded landholders they have a primary responsibility to treat locusts on their properties.

“Where croppers are undertaking summer weed control after recent rains, they may be able to kill

two birds with one stone,” Mr Zacharin said.

“It’s possible to mix some insecticides with herbicides, so landholders should check the labels for suitability, and if they see locusts banding, consider combining locust control with their summer weed control.”

Mr Zacharin also offered advice to homeowners who find locusts in the garden.

“It’s important to understand that young locusts will munch on anything green and grassy,” he said.

“Home owners need to assess whether they should take action to treat locusts in the garden.

“Your local garden centre will be able to provide advice on the most suitable insecticides, or alternatively see our fact sheets on locusts and home gardens at 老域名pir.sa.gov备案老域名/locust.”

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