PESHAWAR - Locust attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been contained effectively and crops are protected from damage by swarms of pest entering the border­ing areas of D.I.Khan and Tank districts of KP.

This was said by Dr. Naveed Khan, Deputy Director Department of Plant Protection while talking to APP from Emergency Control Cell set-up in D.I.Khan after attack by the pest.

It merits to mention here that swarms of lo­cust have started enter­ing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after wreaking damage in Balochistan, Sindh, and Punjab provinces.

To tackle locust infes­tation, the Relief, Reha­bilitation and Settlement Department of KP had declared emergency on January 30, 2020 in nine districts of the province.

Dr. Naveed said the strategy of targeting po­tential pockets of locust swarms prove successful in containing the attack by causing huge mortal­ity to the attacking pest.

He said it was also for­tunate that the locust swarms entering KP con­sist of majority of imma­ture adults, which are not fit for breeding at this stage.

The situation would have aggravated severely if the pest had laid eggs, doubling many times the number of arriving lo­cust, he maintained.

Furthermore, he said the strategy of spraying locust was also very ef­fective because the pest was targeted with pes­ticide spray during mid­night when its ability to fly is zero and is lying dormant.

In day time, the pest is very active and not to be targeted due to its abil­ity to fly very fast with a speed of covering around 150km distance in a sin­gle day.

Dr. Naveed also claimed that no damage to crops has been reported in ar­eas of attack by locust in KP.

About the locations of pest attack, he said these were a few hamlets in bordering areas with Punjab as the locust after travelling from Sindh to Punjab was heading to­wards KP.

He said this pest is mostly found in Arabi­an countries and due to war-like situation in Syr­ia, Yemen and Iraq, prop­er measures were not taken there for its control and as a result the pest survived had migrated to Iran and then entered into Pakistan from Balu­chistan province. He in­formed that the agricul­ture department is fully active to counter the at­tack of the pest while Plant Protection Depart­ment has moved all its pesticide stock to the af­fected area to stop locust from moving ahead.