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After 26 Years Locust Attack Returns, PAU Cautions Punjab Farmers

The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has cautioned the farmers of Punjab against the attack of locust, which was observed last time in 1993. Giving this information, Dr P.K. Chhuneja, Head, Department of Entomology, PAU, disclosed, “After 26 years, the locust has attacked the crops in the farmer’s field at Jaislamer, Rajasthan. It has been confirmed by the Director of Plant Protection, Faridabad.” “Farmers in Rajasthan are extremely worried and there is every possibility that it may attack crops or trees in Punjab,” he warned.

Dr Chhuneja explained, “Locust is a short-horned grasshopper with highly migratory habit, having marked polymorphism and voracious feeding behaviour. Locusts are capable of forming swarms (adults congregation) and hopper bands (nymphal congregation). They cause great devastation to natural and cultivated vegetation. They are indeed the sleeping giants that can flare up any time to inflict heavy damage to the crops leading to national emergency of food and fodder.”

About its identification, Dr Chhuneja explained, “Locust is a large size insect, with body length from 35-50 mm for males and 45-55 mm for females. Wings are colourless, exceeding clearly the abdominal extremity. The colour can vary but is usually green, brown, yellowish-green or grey. The mandibles are dark purple to black. Locust life cycle has three distinct stages - egg, hopper and adult.”

Dr Chhuneja advised the farmers to keep a constant vigil through field survey to prevent crop losses due to locust attack. On being observed, farmers should immediately contact experts of PAU or Department of Agriculture, Punjab, he said.

About its control measures, Dr Chhuneja said, “In case locusts are noticed in large number, go for ploughing, digging and harrowing of places where eggs are laid on a large scale. For mechanical control, collect hoppers with catching machine, kill them with flame-throwers and crush them with rollers. In case they are found in bushes, destroy them by burning.”

Dr Chhuneja stressed upon the farmers to consult PAU experts for chemical control

Source: ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneshwar

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