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Hunter farmers lookout for locusts

Hunter Local Land Services is reminding landholders to look closely at any grasshoppers on their properties, following confirmation of Australian plague locust populations on six properties in the Upper Hunter.

There are numerous types of locusts and grasshoppers common at this time of year, many of which regularly occur in our region, but farmers are advised to be aware of plague locust populations.

Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity Team Leader Luke Booth said if farmers suspect they have Australian plague locusts on farm, they should report it to Local Land Services immediately.

“These locusts are uncommon in our region, and there has not been a known outbreak in more than a decade, and with farmers trying to sustain pastures for livestock during the drought, we want to keep it that way,” Luke said.

The identified locusts are considered to be in poor condition due to the ongoing hot dry conditions and lack of available feed, which is hoped will lead to a high mortality rate.

However landholders are being urged to watch for any swarms, to ensure control measures can be implemented quickly before second generation hatchings can begin.

“We are encouraging any landholders who suspect they may have the locusts on their property to join with us in identifying this pest to enable proactive control programs," said Luke.

“We are working with the Department of Primary Industries and affected landholders to develop effective control programs for the identified populations around the Upper Hunter.”

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.

A good guide to learn about the different locust and grasshopper types can be found at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/locusts/about/about_locusts

If you suspect Australian Plague Locusts or have any other pest sightings or impacts to report, please contact your nearest Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer on 1300 795 299.