What Did Tamil Nadu Do To Prevent Locust Attacks?

In our blog a few days ago, we discussed in What You Need To Know About Locusts In India? about the current situation of the locust attack in India and the kind of impact that those locusts will have in the future. Today, we will discuss some of the districts and cities that were severely impacted in the state of Tamil Nadu along with some of the initiatives that the Tamil Nadu Government will take in order to stop this attack.

What Are The Districts/Cities That Have Been Affected?

For our blog today, we are covering a few cities and districts that has been affected in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. I understand that many cities and districts up north are heavily affected compared these places, but I want to point out these places since they haven’t been heavily discussed. These districts that we will cover are the Kanyakumari and the Nilgiris district following with the city of Krishnagiri.

Now that farmers have just planted their seeds, the the spread of these locusts have caused these farmers to panic. Farmers in affected areas have reported to agriculture officials yesterday evening where those officials visited the site and conducted inspections. These inspections have reported that many banana and papaya trees has been greatly affected especially in the village of Neelagiri and Erukkanchedi.

What Happened During These Inspections?

During these inspections, the agriculture officials have found many eggs that the locusts have planted. It is known that a single locust egg can reproduce up to 150 baby locusts. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for these eggs to hatch. Thankfully, these officials found these eggs during their inspection and sprayed insecticides so that they don’t have the chance to reproduce. Also, some locusts were caught during this inspection and were sent to research centers for further studies.

“Instead of continuing to be apathetic, as it had been in managing the coronavirus spread, the state government should immediately launch steps to protect the crops.” – DMK President MK Stalin

Stated On NDTV

When locusts travel in huge swarms, they cover an area of about 1 km in width and about 12-13 km in length. Although it’s reported that the locusts that invaded Tamil Nadu are just native locusts (not desert locusts), the agricultural crops in the Nilgiris district has now been destroyed due to these native ones. In addition, millions of locusts have been spotted in the area, including rubber trees, newly planted rubber saplings, pineapple plantations, tapioca and teak trees.

How Does Tamil Nadu Plan To Destroy These Locusts?

Yesterday, Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy, some scientists and other members including Agriculture Department Chief Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi held a consultative meeting on whether these locusts have infiltrated the Tamil Nadu crops. After the meeting, Gagandeep Singh gave an interview where he confirmed that locusts are behind this attack in Krishnagiri, Kanyakumari and Ooty districts in Tamil Nadu. He continued by saying that there is no need for the farmers to panic since the invasion of these locusts are in very low numbers in Tamil Nadu and are expected to only last until July.

District collectors have been ordered to stock up on bio-pesticides and chemicals and equipment needed for spraying of desert grasshoppers in Tamil Nadu. Farmers can prevent locusts from sitting on crops by making a sound with a drum or a tin. Large tractors can spray antibiotics in order to prevent neem-based herbicides.

The Tamil Nadu Government is currently on surveillance where precautions are being taken. A special committee has been set up to take action in order to take down 250 species of native locusts in the state. By chance, if these farmers come across some eggs or locusts in the herd, then they have been instructed to quickly notify the agriculture officials.

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