Manali: The Himachal Pradesh agriculture department has issued a locust attack alert in Kangra, Una, Bilaspur and Solan districts of the state, which share boundary with neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. Agriculture director Dr R K Kaundal said swarms of desert locust have been destroying crops in adjoining states and there is high possibility of it spreading to Himachal. The department has already started all procedures to kill the insects and directed Bio Control Laboratory in Kangra and Mandi to prepare insecticides at their full capacities so that there is no shortage of supply, if needed.
“Field functionaries have been alerted to keep continuous and constant vigilance on locust activity. Farmers have been asked to report any activity of locusts to nearby agriculture officer,” he said.
Kaundal added that desert locusts usually fly with the wind at a speed of about 16-19kmph depending on the wind. “When swarm settles down in particular area, it should be quickly treated chemically, mechanically beaten and buried by digging trenches. At present, the primary method of controlling desert locust swarms and hopper bands is mainly with organophosphate chemical applied in small concentrated doses by vehicle-mounted and aerial sprayers and to a lesser extent by knapsack and hand operated sprayers,” he added.
He added that all field officers have been directed to create awareness among farmers regarding locust attack and that directions have been given to check its gregarious and solitary forms immediately by spraying contact insecticides.