Swarms of desert locusts, coming from Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya finally arrived and are causing havoc in parts of northern, north-eastern and eastern Uganda.
The challenge now is, in spite of governments efforts to deal a heavy blow to the insects, how do we destroy the insects, given that they continue to advance southwards.
Faced with the helpless remarks by Maj Gen Sam Kavuma, the lead UPDF officer on the national task force of fighting locusts, that “we are overwhelmed by the number of insects and the pumps we are using cannot spray above the trees yet most of the insects are resting on top of trees”, we are left challenged.
What else needs to be done to destroy or contain the dreaded insects that destroy crops, trees, pasture, and everything else that is green?
It is the search for a solution to the advancing locust that the story, ‘How to protect your farm from locusts’ in yesterday’s Daily Monitor, makes a very informative reading. Whereas the government and even some individuals believed that only government has the resources and means to fight or contain the locusts, fresh insights tell a different story.
Experts and new innovations from countries that have or are battling these insects reveal that farm owners or ordinary people can make a great contribution to protect crops and their environment from destruction by the desert locusts.
According to entomologists, to decimate locusts, we can use trees and shrubs that harbour natural enemies, especially those having insecticidal properties such as the neem tree. The enemies, the experts say, can deal terrible blow to the existence, reproduction, and multiplication of locusts hence saving us from their destructiveness.
For instance, leafy trees cover up the ground surface and this deprives locusts of access to soil where they can lay eggs.
Besides, trees and flowering plants shelter birds, parasitic wasps and other enemies that variously help to destroy locusts. A leafy vegetation masks locusts’ sights for the brownness of the soil and thus disrupts their egg laying.
Experts also propose the use of birds, especially ducks and chickens, to eat the locusts and limit their capacity to cause wanton damage. Insects are generally a delicacy to chickens, ducks and other birds given that they are rich in protein that boosts the growth of birds.
Therefore, there is need to augment government’s efforts with innovative suggestions by experts to fight the locusts. In short, everyone should be called on board to help rid the country of locusts.