Locusts spotted infesting Israel’s southeastern Arava area

Agriculture Ministry teams to disperse ‘friendly’ pesticides to stem spread of voracious crop pest

Illustrative: Locust eating corn crops (Oleksandr Yuchynskyi, Getty Images)
Illustrative: Locust eating corn crops (Oleksandr Yuchynskyi, Getty Images)

The Agriculture Ministry said locusts, a danger to agricultural crops, had been found Monday in agricultural villages in the center of the southeastern Arava region.

A team from the Plant Protection and Inspection Services division of the ministry was sent to the area to assess the situation and determine what measures were needed to kill the voracious members of the grasshopper family that can destroy fields of crops.

The locusts appeared to have crossed the border from Jordan into the desert area south of the Dead Sea that is dotted with Israeli villages.

A ministry statement said pesticides used to kill locusts are environmentally friendly and that swarms of locusts pose no danger to humans or animals.

Aircraft spraying pesticides at the fields in Ramat Hanegev March 11 2013. as swarms of locusts invaded the south of Israel. (Flash90)

In February the ministry tracked swarms of locusts on the Egyptian side of the border in concert with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), but those pests did not penetrate Israeli airspace.

The last time swarms of locusts infested Israeli croplands was in 2013, when the Agriculture Ministry waged a three-week campaign using crop-dusting planes to bombard the bugs with pesticides.

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