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6 non-chemical locust management tactics and other gregarious phase grasshopper facts (Photos included)

Hi All!

I am looking for good resources on NON CHEMICAL locust management. I am preparing a few guidelines for technical management best practices, but I am wondering if someone has already produced a flyer or handbook?

I am an agricultural advisor for a small political district here in Nepal in the Annapurna Mountain area. I would like to reach the low literacy / no literacy population, so I am looking for photos or drawings only. OR advice about other ways to manage the locusts that are not listed below. I’m not looking for advice on pheremone traps or other rare-ingredient based solutions that people can’t make at home.

Looking for

  1. Swarm channeling / herding barrier trench scheme

  2. water ditch and molasses/jaggery water bucket traps (photos when filled with locusts not the empty traps)

  3. field border straw traps for overnighting locusts

  4. pictures of using markers to mark the egg holes and then sending a larger group to go dig/hoe the egg holes

  5. herding chickens through a field to eat the eggs after hoeing

  6. I already have photos of banging pots and pans to scare the swarm upwards toward the birds

  7. any action shots of wild birds eating locusts

Thanks for any help you can give! When I have a little document ready I will of course share with this group!

I smooshed my first locust here in Kathmandu today, and have been seeing disembodied wings everywhere, so I am assuming the local kites, pond herons, house sparrows, crows, and others are having a feast…Other areas of Nepal and South Asia are being ravaged and I’m hoping to get this advice to the hill farmers before they get inundated.

Dear Leslie,
I don’t have knoweledge to contribute on the matter but you are kindly requested when you finish the guidelines, to add me at the receipents list.
Thank you in advance
John
Greece
jkanalis@otenet.gr

Hi There! I have managed to find a few pictures and good resources. Some are from the American colony at Jerusalem in 1915, which I was able to find by scouring photos from the Library of Congress USA. I am so surprised that there are not a lot of public photos online of Locust control. I will post all the photos I collect on ECHO Community once they are compiled. Will add your name to any email list of recipients too.

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That sounds great, Leslie! We’ll look forward to viewing your discoveries.

Hello I have compiled a short list of ways to control Locusts and have pictures associated with some of the measures

HOW TO CONTROL LOCUSTS (Chemical Free Options):

Locusts have 5 moulting phases before they can fly because they need to eat a lot to gain fat to get the strength to fly. During these 5 stages when they are still only able to hop, you can herd them into holes or boxes to trap them by using barriers like wood planks or tarps. The photos here are of wooden planks. They will follow one another as they move in “Bands” while young before forming a “Strand” and joining the main “Swarm”. Eat them, burn them, drown them in a tub and feed them to chickens…there are several options of what you can do with locusts not killed with poison.

Locusts lay their eggs in the ground in undisturbed field areas. Take turns to watch where they lay their eggs and mark the areas (sticks work well). Later come in a larger group or by yourself and hoe up the eggs to dry in the sun–this will kill about 80% of the eggs. If you have chickens release them into the field after hoeing to get almost 100% of the eggs

If you have chickens, you can use the captured locusts as good protein food.

If you like crunchy snacks, you are in luck because locusts are safe to eat! Try frying them in spices and salt, or grinding them to make a flour and make pakora. First remove the wings and small parts of the lower leg because those parts are too hard to eat.

Bang on pots and pans to send the Adults flying into the air. Birds like Kite (Cheel), Crow, Jureli, Storks, Egrets, Herons and House Sparrows can eat A LOT of locusts.

Straw piles can be used at the edges of fields to trap sleepy locusts at night. Once the sun is setting they will find a place to sleep and will not move from that place. Go out 1 hour before dark and scare them to at least the edges of the field. Before they become active slightly after sunrise, you can burn them.

Another kind of trap that has been used, but of which we could not find pictures is a bucket trap that is filled with Gur/Jaggery/Molasses water. You can place these around to try to trap the insects – as they search for the sugar source they will not be able to escape the water.

Locusts are a type of grasshopper which has 2 types of possible life phases based on how many juveniles hatch successfully and meet one another as they mature. The locusts that are in Nepal right now are from the Middle East and Northern Africa, so we want to eradicate them, but we want to avoid using poisons that can kill birds who eat the dead insects or which can kill native insects like bees and butterflies which are part of the Natural Environment. In countries where locusts are native, the goal is to manage them in a way that promotes their solitary lifestyle and not their “gregarious” swarming lifestyle by keeping their population in check.

If you do decide to spray them, then it is advised to be most effective during moulting phases 2 and 3 according to Entomologists and Pest Control Experts. It is considered a waste of pesticide as well as an environmental hazard to humans to spray the air of a swarm.

Locust swarms are made up of Strands and all the locusts in each strand face the same direction, although strands may fly in separate directions. Because of this, it is hard to watch where the locust swarm is headed from a close distance. The majority of the swarm will move at about 40% windspeed in the direction of the wind in about a 30 degree lateral dispersal (like a triangle wedge shape). Some locusts fly as fast as 100% wind speed too.

This information is from various sources including research papers and articles. Photos are taken many times from the US Library of Congress and also from newspaper articles and web sites like the Victoria Agriculture Association in Australia. I did a lot of reading so I have verified each method with photos or multiple articles stating similar facts.

Trying to attach photos now

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chickens-in-field download

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The methods are now uploaded on the thread. If you need citations for anything I can find the resources used. I just have not uploaded them yet as I am lazy. I am planning to turn this into a small paper and will keep you posted when that happens as I will surely be adding information.

Thank you Leslie

Ioannis

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thanks for your in-depth research Leslie it’s really interesting. I work with an NGO in Surkhet & Humla, see www.himalayanpermaculture.com - it would be good to be in touch
best
Chris

I would like to know if anyone has compared the non-chemical control methods with the chemical control methods to see which work? And if anyone is asking if it is “heathy” to rule out chemicals in the control of locusts when lack of control can mean starvation. Working in the area of agricultural development I often plead with people to stop steering people away from the best tools we have unless we are in the comfort zone of knowing that a crop loss will not result in “life loss” for those who are at margin. One of the most difficult things I deal with is the adversity to using chemicals among those who are at extreme margin and it is people coming in from the outside that are trumping up the “evils” of pesticides. If the organic growers themselves will not recommend tobacco or rotenone due to their being too “dangerous” then it as foregone conclusion that we can do the same with chemical use and pick out chemicals for control of locust that are not as likely to cause any human injury such as pyrethoids, particularly for those new to chemical usage. So please consider using the control known to work best and then bring in a smaller area of other control methods for comparision so if you want to become organic you can do so “safely” without creating greater risk of life loss from starvation.

Hi Dan,

Very good points. And I wish there was information comparing chemical and non chemical controls, but I really didn’t find any. The information I used had to be dug up from olden times when chemicals didn’t exist as widely. I advocate organic methods when possible but follow IPM best practices and I believe there is a time and a place to spray–maybe I should have been more clear about that in writing the blurb.

Here there were several contextual barriers to and issues with spraying during this infestation --the first being that it was mid monsoon,. Most sprays would be washed away almost immediately and certainly would contaminate local water supply, streams, and rivers. The reason I made the non-chemical control guide is that the information was so hard to find on the internet–how could a villager with a limited data plan even find any information? The government gave only chemical options in their guidelines and actually didn’t really really say anything very specific about mixing chemicals or application rates–they encouraged folks to visit the agriculture offices…which were closed due to COVID and also are generally at 5 hour walk away minimum from most villages (during probably the most severe landslide ridden monsoon in the last decade). Not to mention that the roads were closed due to the same landslides and flooding and also a nationwide LOCKDOWN of travel and very very limited goods transport …so chemicals were sometimes impossible to get. So, I compiled information from various sources and put it out there to give people some options to try to deal with the hoppers, to dig up the eggs and get their chickens fed (also the lockdown effectively stopped the animal feed supply chain).

Also, I don’t think the infestations here were as bad as they could have been. The government did have plans to use drones to spray in large swaths, but I don’t know what came of that, because again…the lockdown prevented any personal observation on my part. Kathmandu remained pretty unscathed, and areas where I have friends say it is OK now…but I’m not sure about the whole country.

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