THEY COULD NOT SURVIVE

Locusts leave Nyeri because it is too cold

“One of the things why they cannot do well here is because of cold. They also lay their eggs in sandy soils which is not available here."

In Summary

•The county has been mapping out all the areas that the swarms have been reported and make follow-ups after two weeks to find out whether they might have laid eggs.

Nyeri County CEC for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries James Muturi
Nyeri County CEC for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries James Muturi
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Desert locusts have been spotted in Nyeri in small swarms but have not caused any damage.

Nyeri County CEC for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries James Muturi said the pests, which thrive in dry areas, have been unable to thrive in Nyeri because of cold.

“One of the things why they cannot do well here is because of cold. They also lay their eggs in sandy soils which is not available here,” he said.

 

The small swarms arrived there after being chased away by farmers elsewhere.

Muturi said the insects, which were first reported in Kenya in December, started arriving in the county in small swarms in the last week of January.

“They have been reported in Mahiga, Iriaini, Mathira East, Ruguru, Dedan Kimathi, Narumoru and Mugunda wards but with less damage as the swarm flew over the county to the forest,” he said.

However the county, he said, is not taking anything to chance.

His department has been conducting sensitisation workshops on the locust management and about 240 staff have been trained in the entire county.

“The aim of the training is to equip the officers with relevant knowledge and skills to enable them correctly identify report and roll out effective management response,” he said.

 
 

Muturi said a group of county officials was trained in Nakuru as Trainers of Trainers and is currently training people in each of the sub county level.

This is to ensure that the county is ready to respond if the insects come in large swarms.

The CEC added that the county has also formed a coordination team comprising of various stakeholders drawn from the county and national government.

 Team members from the national government are specifically from the Ministry of Interior, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Forestry Research Institute and private people with large tracts of land in Nyeri.

 The team was formed to help in mapping the resources that would be needed in case of attack, he said.

 “So we mapped up the resources and we agreed that each of those parties would commit resources as and when they are called upon to do so,” he said.

The resources, he said, would include vehicles to be used in surveillance and equipments such as sprayers while the county has set aside some money and identified where they can outsource the chemicals in case of attack by large swarms.

“I may not give the figure of the money set aside but we have enough money to buy chemicals,” he said.

In places where the locusts have been reported, further monitoring is being undertaken so as to find out whether they laid eggs before leaving.

 “We are mapping out all the areas that the swarms have been reported and make follow-ups after two weeks to find out whether they might have laid eggs,” he said.

Their eggs hatch after two weeks.

 Muturi said a swarm has the ability to fly 150-200 km per day and half a million locusts weigh one tonne and can consumes one tonne of vegetation.