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Spraying to control locust plagues carefully planned

30 July 2010

Significant locust plagues (external site) have been predicted for south-eastern Australia over the coming spring and summer. Preparations are being made by Commonwealth and State authorities to respond to the threat by spraying selected insecticides on affected areas.

The Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC) (external site) plays a key role in managing these outbreaks with responsibilities for monitoring and forecasting, control, research, and environmental management and communications and engagement.

The insecticides used to control locusts have been assessed by the APVMA and are registered for use in Australia. The major chemicals used are fenitrothion, fipronil and Metarhizium. The APVMA has also issued permits specifically for locust control.

Fenitrothion is used as a knock down chemical. Metarhizium, based on a naturally occurring biological pesticide, is typically used in environmentally sensitive areas and leaves no residue in meat or crops. Fipronil is a residual chemical that can be used to produce a barrier into which locust hoppers move and be killed.

The APLC provides extensive information (external site) to farmers and the community in managing outbreaks. Landowners undertaking locust control activities themselves are required to comply with the current label instruction and adhere to buffer zones and use appropriate methods of control to the situation at hand.

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