Old Adilabad braces for possible locust attack

‘Battle’ ready: Inverted plastic cups set up to protect seedlings from locusts in Adilabad district.  

A locust attack alert has been sounded in old united Adilabad and Nizamabad districts by the Central Integrated Pest Management Centre in Hyderabad, as these places border Maharashtra hit by swarms of desert locusts recently.

The swarms were reported specifically from Nagpur, the boundaries of which are located about 150 km away from the northern borders of Adilabad and Kumram Bheem Asifabad districts in former Adilabad.

Desert locusts attack standing crops or any vegetation, mostly pastures and fodder.

If the swarms fly southwards from Nagpur, they are most likely to hit the bordering areas of Telangana in the next five days or so.

The occurrence of individual locusts as a pest in crops was actually seen in the second half of January in some polyhouse raised horticulture crops in Adilabad. This attack is not a new phenomenon but the damage was comparatively severe this year.“We initiated measures like administering chemicals to save the seedlings of cucumber in the polyhouses in Devapur and Bheemsari villages but in vain. The damage resulted in resowing of seeds and the expenditure of the farmers increased by about ₹40,000,” recalled Adilabad horticulture officer (technical) G. Srinivas Reddy.

“Farmers, however, came up with an innovative idea to ward away the locust menace towards the latter half of February by using cups made of thin plastic to cover the germinated plants with a hole on the inverted top. The locusts flew away as the plastic made strange sounds once the insects sat on it to devour the seedling visible through the hole,” he explained.

This technique used by the horticulture farmers of making loud noise perhaps corresponds by the shrill sounds produced when tins or plates made of metal are beaten or banged.

This is among the standard procedures to shoo away locusts besides some integrated pest management techniques.

Officials of the agriculture and concerned departments in Adilabad district were given a low-down on the likely attack and preventive measures on Wednesday. Though there are hardly any standing crops, the threat of locusts laying eggs in the fields readied for vaanakalam sowing seems to loom large in case the swarms drift towards Telangana.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 3:07:18 AM |

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