Garden Locust

Family Name

Acanthacris ruficornis

Characteristics

Type:

Jumping – Flying

Size:

The garden locust can measure up to 3.23 inches in length.

Colour:

Large beige-brown with long wings and a light stripe across the back.

Behaviour:

Locusts are certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae that have a swarming phase. These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances they become more abundant and change their behaviour and habits, becoming sociable (gregarious). In the solitary phase, these locusts are innocuous, their numbers are low and they do not pose a major economic threat to agriculture. However, under suitable conditions of drought followed by rapid vegetation growth, serotonin in their brains triggers a dramatic set of changes. They start to breed abundantly, becoming gregarious (sociable) and nomadic (loosely described as migratory) when their populations become dense enough. They form bands of wingless nymphs which later become swarms of winged adults. Both the bands and the swarms move around and rapidly strip fields and cause damage to crops. The adults are powerful fliers; they can travel great distances, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles.

Habitats

The family is known as migratory locusts that in huge groups can eat a large area completely. These vegetable eater is especially found in Africa.

Tips for Control

For the most part, locusts live solitary lives; however, when locusts are overcrowded in the larva, or nymph, stage of development, the result is groups of adult locusts that swarm. Swarming locusts can wipe out an entire crop in a few days.

Locusts are very difficult to get rid of. Tips for control:

 To get prepared for the upcoming season, apply Bifen granules to your turf at the end of winter or early spring. These slow releasing granules will kill off young locust nymphs as they emerge from eggs. This will help minimize their presence in the yard.
 Bring in predators. The most effective way to control locusts organically is to keep chicken or ducks in your yard and garden. Chicken and ducks both eat locust. If you do not want to keep chicken or ducks, try encouraging birds, such as magpies, to take up residence in your yard.
 Burn green branches to make smoke if you are trying to drive a swarm of locust off your crops. Although this doesn’t always work, some farmers have had success smoking the locust out.
 Handpick the locust off of your plants if you are dealing with just a few and not an entire swarm. Pick them off the plants and squish them, or drop them into a jar filled with water and a few drops of dish soap.
 Plant calendula or horehound as a barrier around the plants that the locust is eating. Both of these act as a natural repellent for locust.
 Spray the plants that you are trying to keep the locust off with garlic oil. Garlic oil has been found to be an effective means of repelling locust organically. Neem oil can also be sprayed on the plants to disrupt the growth of the locust. Both of these have to be re-applied periodically.