Wednesday, 1st September, 2010
The worst locust plague in decades is looming as rising temperatures trigger the hatching of tens of millions of eggs.
Four states, including large swathes of NSW, are set to experience swarms over the next few months as conditions become right for hatching.
Broken Hill won't be immune from the plaque, with the city located in one of four so-called risk zones which blanket parts of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.
The zone Broken Hill is in extends east to White Cliffs and into Queensland and South Australia.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries said improved seasonal conditions and a combination of warm, wet weather earlier this year resulted in extensive locust egg laying across NSW.
In a newsletter released last week, the department said that while no hatchings had been reported yet, significant locust activity is expected in the Central West and Riverina areas of the State.
It said the recent cold weather had caused a slight delay in egg development, with hatching now predicted for late August in northern areas, during September in central areas (including around Broken Hill) and from the end of September in the Riverina.
Broken Hill got a taste of what's to come when a swarm of locusts passed through the city in April.
The Director of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, Chris Adriaansen, told the BDT that the outbreak was possibly the biggest in a decade.
But he said nymph hatchings in September would do far more damage.
The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said there were three generations of population increase over 2009-2010.
Despite intensive control of nymphs of the third generation in NSW, it said eggs laid in autumn would produce a further generation of high density nymphs this spring.
Nine Livestock Health and Pest Authority command posts have been established in NSW for the deployment of enough insecticide to treat more than half a million hectares of locusts state-wide.
In July the NSW Premier, Christina Keneally, announced an $18.5 million package to help farmers across the State protect crops and pastures.