Vigilance needed as locusts spotted in state's north west

Locust sightings at Tambar Springs and Goondiwindi prompts calls for vigilance from Local Land Services

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An example of the damage caused by locusts in Moree earlier this year.

An example of the damage caused by locusts in Moree earlier this year.

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Local Land Services are urging producers to be on the lookout for locusts.

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RECENT locust sightings in NSW's North West and southern Queensland have prompted calls for producers to be on the lookout.

The pests were discovered in Tambar Springs as well as Goondiwindi in recent weeks, however the true extent of the spread is still unknown.

If undetected, locusts can cause widespread damage to crops and can travel vast distances.

North West Local Land Services (LLS) senior biosecurity officer Dave Lindsay said it was crucial for landholders to be on alert in order to avoid any serious damage.

"We've had confirmation of bands, so the main thing is we really need people to be looking around and keeping an eye out," Mr Lindsay said.

"Given how much grass and growth there is at the moment, it's pretty hard to actually see what's out there, but it is really important to be vigilant.

"There's huge potential for damage, but you never really know how bad it will be until it is over."

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The LLS believes the recent outbreaks may be connected to an outbreak that causes significant damage in the state's north earlier this year.

"There was a pretty extensive outbreak near Boggabilla to Yetman and across the Moree area, which pretty much began late in 2020," Mr Lindsay said.

"There was a lot of locusts around that area at the time and we had people from outside of our area coming in to help and try and control them.

"The landholders were really good and a lot of them used a lot chemical and sprayed a lot of locusts.

"However, they were never going to get them all, it's just one of those things that when they are everywhere you can't get them all."

As a result, Mr Lindsay said some of the locusts missed earlier in the year may have relocated further south to reproduce.

"Once they started to swarm and begun to move south, we don't really know whether they laid before the moved, we sort of suspect they did because we know there was a report of hatchings at Goondiwindi," he said.

"Another reason we think they may have laid eggs is because they turned up further south in the Maules Creek area and when they were caught and checked, not many of them seemed to have eggs.

"We reckon in that Narrabri area right through to Tambar Springs, Gunnedah and anywhere that's got ridges or bare country, we expect they may have laid.

"Given locusts can lay three times in their lifecycle, we figure there's going to be a few lots of eggs laid in that area."

Anyone who suspects locusts in their area is urged to contact their LLS office to help control the pest.

"There's not much you can do once they come in," Mr Lindsay said.

"All landholders can really do is keep an eye out and if they see swarms, try to notice if they have laid.

"The big thing is, once they are out and the bands are on the ground, we really want people to be vigilant and to be looking around.

"It doesn't matter if it's on their own property, a neighbours or wherever, if you see something, get in touch."

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