Locust infestation in Central Trinidad

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - 06:30

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat has confirmed there is a locust infestation in several parts of the country. 

The Guardian Media team saw hundreds of locusts in the fields of Tortuga in Central Trinidad but Rambharat said the swarms are currently feeding high up in the forests and are posing no threats to farmers.

Asked whether there was an infestation, Rambharat said yes. He explained that the Ministry had reports of infestations at Tortuga, Caparo, Moruga, and Tabaquite. The insects inhabit areas close to forested areas, Rambharat added.

" It's swarming - usual at this time. They feed high up in the trees and then head into the forest for nesting. They will mate, lay and die," he said. Rambharat said it is rare to see crops being damaged at this stage.

"Very rarely will we see damage to crops at this stage, but in swarming they can be a nuisance," Rambharat said.

Asked whether the Ministry was doing spraying to eradicate the pests, Rambharat responded, "We do not spray swarms at this time. It is too high up and too close to residential areas. We are doing surveillance and we will spray if there are locusts low down."

He added, " As we head into the nesting season our work intensifies to destroy nests and then the juveniles called hoppers. They are wingless for the first few weeks and easier to destroy if we get to them."

However, chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong said breadfruit trees, peas fields and cassava crops from his own private lands were eaten down by the insects.

"All over Tortuga, Tabaquite, Mamoral, Los Attajos we are battling with locusts.

For the past month, we are having this heavy infestation of locusts. We are making requests to the Ministry of Agriculture to spray the locusts because they are damaging crops.

The locusts like milky sap trees like chatagne and cassava. People were affected a month ago when they passed through Las Attajos, I lost some citrus trees as well," Awong added.

- by Radhica De Silva