Australia Battles Giant Locust Plague

Thursday, 15 Apr 2010 08:37 AM

 

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Farmers across the Australian Outback have been warned of a potential explosion of locusts in the coming months, after a plague of millions of the grasshopper-like insects swept across four states earlier this month.

Millions of the quick-breeding and fast-moving insects have damaged crops and caused havoc in country towns by infesting parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia – covering an area of approximately 500,000 square kilometres (190,000 square miles), roughly the size of Spain.

Hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops of early sown wheat and barley as well as pastures and gardens have been eaten by the “widespread infestation” of the native Australian pests, which break out annually and are the bane of the Australian agriculture industry.

However this year’s outbreak could potentially be worse than the devastating plague of 2004 – when locusts swept through eastern Australia damaging an area twice the size of England - because of recent rainfall across drought-affected inland Australia.

“It’s been quite a few years since inland Australia has seen such good rainfall,” Chris Adriaansen, the director of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, told The Times.

To read full London Times story — Go Here Now.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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