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New wave of locusts in state’s south

FARMERS’ hopes that rains had averted a locust plague have been dashed – a ”second wave” has hatched in southern NSW.

Large locust bands have been sighted in crops and pastures around Corowa. Aerial surveillance has found other clusters on the ground around Albury and Deniliquin, said the NSW deputy plague locust commissioner, Suzanne Robinson.

Spur-throated locusts, cousins of the Australian plague locusts, have damaged citrus orchards and cotton crops in the state’s north-west, she said. They had been sighted from Brewarrina to Cobar.

She said this species prefers tropical and wet conditions and does not aggregate in dense bands, making control more difficult. ”Spur-throated locusts cannot be seen from the air, meaning aerial surveillance is not possible,” she said.

Australian plague locusts, as well as feasting on the greenery made lush by rain and floods, are leaving vivid marks on southern highways after hatching from eggs laid on cleared roadside land, said the Corowa Shire mayor, Fred Longmire. ”It’s like someone splashed the road with red dye,” he said.

The postmaster in the village of Balldale, Bernie Carter, told him locusts had swarmed over the entire road along the 200 metres between its pub and post office.

”People are a little bit anxious about it,” said Mr Longmire, who fears that thick foliage will make it hard to find and spray locusts and in autumn another wave will eat the green shoots of new crops.

Many farmers had harvested their summer crops, which were badly damaged but high yielding because of rain, he said.

Ms Robinson said the fresh spike of locust sightings in the south followed intense adult activity late last year, particularly around Albury, Corowa, Gundagai and Wagga Wagga.

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