The second wave desert locusts, 20 times bigger than the first one, will soon ravage farms in Kenya and East Africa, experts have warned.
The new swarms expected to hatch in May will be descendants of the first generation that the Horn of Africa countries are battling to contain with little or no success.
“The first generation of locusts is now breeding, they’ve laid their eggs; they’ll be hatching into nymphs and hoppers,” said Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) representative to Kenya Tobias Takavarasha in an interview with Thomson Reuters Foundation News.
“So this is the time to harness or control them before they start flying or before they start to affect the coming planting season.”
Scientists estimate that the swarms in East Africa will be 400 times bigger by June if successive generations are not eliminated.
In Kenya, more than 20 counties – including Mandera, Wajir, Samburu, Isiolo, Garissa, Baringo, Turkana, Laikipia, Meru, Kitui, Embu, Machakos, Murang’a, Makueni and Kajiado – have been infested by the insects.
The Fao has warned that rains that fell in the later part of March could boost the breeding of the insects.
Already, hopper bands and an increasing number of new swarms are forming in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, with the Desert Locust Control Organisation for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA) warning that the situation in Kenya could get serious, because the swarms, particularly those in Somalia, could soon enter the country.