Locust swarms bad news for farms

MILLIONS of locusts are hatching and swarming in western Queensland and some of the striped critters with fat upper lips are intent on clogging up your radiator as you drive around the region's upper ridges.

For our outlying farms, the news of the locust invasion may not be good either.

The spur-throated locust is a large and hungry, fast-flying pest. The way he's multiplying and flying at present isn't a good sign for our citrus, macadamias, soybean, corn, green wheat, young sunflower, cotton, sorghum, mung beans, palm trees, eucalyptus trees and turkey bush crops.

Dr Christine Lambkin, curator of entomology at the Queensland Museum, said yesterday the locusts would not hit the coast itself.

“They just don't seem to like the coast down here but you will find them if you're driving inland. They'll clog up your car parts and they don't squish on your windscreen, they bounce off.

“We were out at a field trip last week and saw masses of swarms including many hanging off the mulga trees.

“They're big grasshoppers. The females are up to 73mm long and the males are up to 53mm long. They vary in colour but can be really pink. They have a pale stripe from the head to the tip of the tail and another pair of stripes on each side.

“They'll eat everything.”

The good news, Dr Lambkin added, is that large spraying programs are expected to lessen the expected threat.

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