Director, Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh RK Koundal informed here today that massive swarms of Desert Locust have been reported destroying crops in adjoining states and may spread to Himachal Pradesh.

He said that high alert has been issued in Kangra, Una, Bilaspur and Solan districts of the state in this regard.

Koundal said that field functionaries have been alerted to keep continuous and constant vigilance on locust activity and get ready to control any locust emergency situation. Farmers have been asked to report any activity of locusts to nearby Agriculture Officers.

He further told that Desert Locusts usually fly with the wind at a speed of about 16-19 km per hour depending on the wind. He said that when swarm settles down in a particular area it should be quickly treated chemically, mechanically beaten and buried by digging trenches.

At present, the primary method of controlling Desert Locust swarms and hopper bands is mainly with organophosphate chemical applied in small concentrated doses (referred to as ultra-low volume (ULV) formulation) by vehicle-mounted and aerial sprayers and to a lesser extent by a knapsack and hand-operated sprayers.

He said that small patches of locust should be immediately sprayed by ULV.

The Director Agriculture said that all the field officers have been directed to create awareness among the farmers regarding the locust attack. He said that directions have also been given to check its gregarious and solitary forms immediately by spraying contact insecticides.

Bioinsecticides like Metarhizium and Beauveria at 200 gm per 30 litres of water or canal is also effective for control in the long run. BioControl Laboratory, Kangra and Mandi have been directed to prepare these bioinsecticides at their full capacities.

He said that presently no locust activity has been reported from any part of the state and necessary steps for locust control have already been taken.

He said Field Officers have directed to keep continuous watch and report any activity of the locust in the fields to the Agriculture Directorate for rebuffing the locust attack effectively.