China Fighting Against Worst Locust Plague

Migratory locusts have infested over one million hectares of waste land with low vegetation cover where the locusts breed in more than 160 counties in China's 10 provinces this summer.

In addition, native locusts, which are far less destructive than migratory ones, have infested 6.7 million hectares of land, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The worst-hit regions are situated along the Yellow River and Bohai Sea, in parts of South China's Hainan Province and Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, where the density has hit a surprising 3,000 to 10,000 per square meter, Monday's China Daily reported.

Even in some regions where locusts seldom appear, such as Huludao, in northeast China's Liaoning Province, the pests have appeared in large numbers.

Specialized plague control teams have sprayed insecticide over about 250,000 hectares of waste land and will spray another 600, 000 hectares within the coming month.

Starting from last Tuesday, nine crop-dusting planes have also been used to kill the pests in 200,000 hectares of land in north China's Hebei Province and Tianjin Municipality, east China's Shandong Province and central China's Henan Province.

Weather permitting, this summer's locust plague should be brought under control by early July.

Experts say the plague is mainly caused by a chronic dry spell. Over the past three months, continuous drought has been haunting over 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions and provides a good environment for the breeding of migratory locusts, which usually lay their eggs on saline-alkali waste land.

The Ministry of Finance has put aside 27 million yuan (3.26 million US dollars) for the battle against the locusts, and another 40 million yuan will be poured in soon, according to Zhu Enlin, division director of the Agro-Technical Extension Center under the Ministry of Agriculture.