• The insects earlier on feared to be desert locusts have been proven to be the long horn grasshoppers.
• But these pests are equally destructive just like the locusts if not contained.
The insects spotted in Riandira and Gathigiriri villages in Kirinyaga county are not desert locusts but the longhorn grasshoppers, it has emerged.
But these pests are equally destructive, just like the locusts if not contained, Kirinyaga Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri has said.
He said after the pests which target vegetation, especially food crops and grass, were discovered on Monday by residents, experts from both the national and county governments were dispatched to the area to verify if they were locusts.
The presence of the insects had caused fear and panic since maize had just matured and would have been ruined if the insects were not controlled.
Ndambiri said after crop protection experts realised the insects were longhorn grasshoppers, spraying using normal insecticides started, bringing the pests under control.
“As you can see, the intensity of these insects has been contained after a few hours after spraying with ordinary chemicals which are easily and cheaply available at any agrovet outlet unlike the special one used to spray the locusts,” he said.
Ndambiri, who spoke at Riandira village where he visited to assess the situation, assured farmers that the situation was under control.
“There is no cause for alarm since our extension officers have been able to oversee the effective spraying of the pests whose population has been completely decimated," he said.
Ndambiri told farmers that the insecticides are cheap and anyone can buy them from agrovets, since the county government had not set a budget for the purpose.
“But should it occur that some farmers are unable to buy the insecticide, the county government will certainly come through using the disaster management.”
Farmer John Mithamo said his three-acre maize farm had been partially attacked by the green-coloured insects and feared he would lose everything.
But Ndambiri assured farmers that a surveillance team would remain on the ground until the locusts reported in some parts of Meru and Isiolo are contained.