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					                                         State of Israel
                        Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
                          Office of the Spokesperson of the Ministry
                                                                                    February 26, 2013
                                                                                     22nd of Adar 5773
                                                                                              REL. 744/13
                                            Press Release
Preparing for the locust storm
 In view of the locust swarms in Egypt, the Israeli
     Ministry of Agriculture is on “locust alert”
                 A few facts about locusts and the damage that they cause:
** Each locust eats its own weight in food per day. ** The number of adults can reach
 40 to 80 million in a flock over each km2 of area. ** One ton of locust (a minor part of
      the swarm) eats as much food as 2,500 persons. ** Locusts have extensive
                     distribution, of nearly 30 million km2 in 60 countries


The Plant Protection and Inspection Service at the Ministry of Agriculture has received a
warning of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the presence of locust swarms in the
Cairo area in Egypt. Because of the prevailing winds and the climatic conditions in the area, there is
a chance for the locusts to arrive in Israel too. The spring is the locust’s breeding season, resulting
in a high risk in this period.
The Ministry of Agriculture, is preparing for coping with locusts, if they arrive in Israel. The Ministry of
Agriculture calls the public to be alert and if swarms containing thousands of individuals are
encounter, to call the locust hotline of the Ministry of Agriculture, telephone: 03-9681500, from
7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The Director of the Plant Protection and Inspection Service of the Ministry of Agriculture,
Miriam Freud: “All of the relevant elements in the areas in which locusts are expected to arrive in
Israel have received an updated and are on ‘locust alert’. Israel has an aerial and land based pest
control system that is ready for action if and when needed. The Plant Protection and Inspection
Services of the Ministry of Agriculture maintain constant contact with the UN’s FAO, whose functions
include regular tracking and reporting of locust movements in Northern and Eastern Africa through
to India”.

Within the “locust alert” procedure, alongside the preparations for deployment pest control teams
from the ground and from the air, the Ministry of Agriculture has applied to companies that
manufacture and import pesticides in order to ensure that there is sufficient inventory of pesticides
for exterminating the pest. The “locust alert” team is also trained and drilled in the field each year,
irrespective of alert status. In effect, there have been no locusts in Israel since January 2005.
Owing to the rapid, effective response of the Plant Protection and Inspection Services of the Ministry
of Agriculture and other agencies participating in the effort to eradicate locusts in our region, and
owing to the weather and prevailing winds, locust flocks that have entered Israel from Sinai have
stopped arriving, and those that have already arrived have been exterminated. In the case of
discovery of locusts, the public must immediately report to the Ministry’s emergency line (03-

Maccabim Road, Rishon le Zion, P.O. Box 30 Beit Dagan, ZIP 50250, Tel. 03-9485436, Fax: 03-9485782

        The ministry's new website: www.moag.gov.il                Government portal: www.gov.il
                                        State of Israel
                       Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
                         Office of the Spokesperson of the Ministry
9681500). In the case of an individual specimen or a few specimens, they can be killed using one’s
own resources. In the case of a major swarm, the Ministry of Agriculture will enter the picture and
perform the pest control operations.

The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) has been the most significant agricultural pest ever since
man started to cultivate plants. It is mentioned in ancient scriptures, the Bible and the Koran. The
locust is still a serious enemy of growers in many countries and represents a constant factor
between food and famine. This depends, inter alia, on the weather, locust flocks, their size and
migration speed.
The damage in certain years has reached a quarter of a billion dollars, for a number of reasons,
including: the locust feeds on a very wide range of plant species; each individual eats its own weight
in food each day; the quantity that gradually grows from larvae to adult and reaches 2 grams 2-3
grams after the development of the adult. Young flocks cause serious damage; the number of adults
may range from 40 to 80 million in a flock per km2. There are flocks that reach a size of 1,000 km2.
One ton of locusts (this is a small part of a flock) eats as much food as 2,500 persons; locusts feed
on leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and bark. In addition, as indirect damage, they snap trees due to
their weight when they settle down for the night and damage plants with their excrement; they have
extensive distribution, at close to 30 million km2 in 60 countries.

The desert locust may be found in Central Africa, in areas that are a suitable habitat in dispersed
populations during the year. Appropriate fair weather and summer rains may cause an increase in
the population level beyond a social level to form flocks and cause them to migrate from their
country of origin. Israel is at the northern border of the locust infestation areas. In our country, 10
infestations have been recorded in about 150 years. Usually, each infestation lasts a few years. The
worst infestation was in the 1950s, lasting about 10 years. At that time the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development formed a team.

Additional information on and pictures of locusts may be found on the website of the Ministry of
Agriculture, at the address: www.moag.gov.il.

Best regards,
Dafna Yurista
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development




Maccabim Road, Rishon le Zion, P.O. Box 30 Beit Dagan, ZIP 50250, Tel. 03-9485436, Fax: 03-9485782

       The ministry's new website: www.moag.gov.il               Government portal: www.gov.il

				
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