To: Maria Merkling Havens <>
Subject: Locusts
From: Atriplex Services <>
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2000 15:02:00 +0930
> Maria Merkling Havens wrote:
> > Figuring that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, I'm
> > wondering what sort of effect the predicted/forecast plague of locusts
> > (in "all states", per a recent ABC report) might have on bird
> > activity? 

Not good, I suspect, because thousands of ha of inland Aus, (including
horticultural areas) where hatchings are starting NOW are to be sprayed
with insecticide by the Primary Industries SA, Aus. Plague Locust
Commission and WA and other state departments, plus private landowners
and local councils.
I don't know what was said on the ABC but I attended a local meeting
last week, one of a series called by PIRSA and they say that this
season's plague(s) are expected to be the biggest, Australia-wide, since
the 1950s. Their planning is quite advanced and on-going, with new
chemicals constantly being added to the list of registered ones for use
on locusts in various crops.
I asked if rescue organisations should expect a flood of calls for
distressed/dead birds and other fauna and the PIRSA rep assured me the
stuff they spray is harmless to warm-blooded vertebrates (not his exact
words but that was the gist of it.) He admitted it does kill ALL
insects, crustaceans and fish (no-one mentioned the poor old reptiles -
again). On the other hand, he agreed with others at the meeting that the
stuff is so caustic that it acts like paint stripper if a vehicle is
accidentally sprayed, which doesn't sound too healthy to me, for ANY
living creature, not to mention the total destruction of the food chain,
in sprayed areas.
I've personally never lived through a plague of any kind but we had a
mini-plague of locusts here at Morgan last autumn and it was enough to
make me very worried about the next few months. They say the problems
could last right from spring until next  autumn. As far as spraying
goes, I suspect we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Its scary.

For more info, you can go to the PIRSA website:
Anne Green, Morgan, SA (Riverland)

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