Southerly winds on Friday blew a new swarm of locusts into Israel’s Negev Desert, raising fresh concern of damage to crops over the weekend.
The large swarm, the second to be blown into Israel over the Egyptian border in the space of a week, is thought to number hundreds of thousands of insects.
An Agriculture Ministry plane was tracking the advance of the locusts, and, as of Friday afternoon, placed them at Moshav Kmehin in the Ramat Negev region near the Egyptian border.
Earlier, the ministry asked for volunteers to patrol the region to look out for the incoming pests.
“If the winds bring the massive swarms from Egypt to here, we are going to be in big trouble,” said Yankale Moskovich, a farmer from Ramat Negev. “The best-case scenario is that all it brings us will be dust storms.”
Israel’s spraying of agricultural fields in the south of the country Wednesday morning succeeded in grounding most of the locusts that had already made it into the country.
Two planes, assisted by ground crews and trucks, sprayed with pesticides the migrating insects that had settled in the area the day before. The teams showered a swath of 1,850 acres, beginning the procedure at 6 a.m. and continuing into the early afternoon.
Local residents were instructed to stay indoors and close their windows and blinds.
The locusts also caused damage to fields cultivated by Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip, and the Hamas government instructed residents on Wednesday to close their windows.