Authorities say they have been caught off-guard by the discovery of a species of locust that was not expected to appear in the central west of New South Wales.
The Livestock Pest and Health Authority (LHPA) says a swarm of spur throated locusts, which are ready to lay eggs, are covering an area of around 8000 acres northeast of Nyngan.
Senior Ranger Lisa Thomas says they are different from the normal plague locusts that the LHPA has been dealing with in recent months.
She says it is believed the swarm of females may have come from the northwest.
“They could have separated from the main swarm, generally females separate from the males when they are about to lay,” she said.
“That’s why there’s a bit of an urgency about needing to know about their life cycle so we can nip it in the bud if we can.”
She says the locusts are larger than the normal plague locust that the LHPA is used to dealing with and will be more challenging to kill.
Ms Thomas says while the larger locusts may be treated with the same chemicals, the LHPA needs to know more about their lifecycle to know the best time for spraying the pests and will be contacting the Australian Plague Locust Commission.
“We’ll certainly be seeking advice from the APLC as to how we manage this,” she said.
“Certainly, I do know that the chemicals that we have do work just as effectively for them, but, it’s more of their lifestyle that we do need to get a handle on as to where they’re potentially going to lay and what their lifecycle is and how long we’re going to actually have them around.”
She says it is not yet known whether the biggest concern is the damage to this season’s crops or the potential for future egg hatchings.