Agriculture Ministry teams feverishly sprayed the South’s fields by air and on
the ground on Wednesday, in attempts to ward off a swarm of locusts that had
infiltrated Israel on Tuesday.
After millions of locusts crossed the
border from Sinai on Tuesday, ministry teams launched an extensive aerial and
ground spray operation on Tuesday evening, which they followed with another
aerial spraying session that went on from about 6 through 11:30 a.m., the
Agriculture Ministry said. Immediately after that spraying episode, the ministry
said that workers saw no bugs rising in flight.
All in all, the sprayers
covered about 750 hectares (over 1,850 acres) of land east of Kmehin with aerial
pesticides, followed by ground treatment throughout the day, the ministry
By the time evening fell, the Agriculture Ministry reported
that the activities of the locust swarms had decreased significantly, though
teams were still spraying the grounds as well as monitoring the situation in
Egypt. While almost no significant agricultural damage had occurred at this
point, the ministry stressed that even if such harm had befallen the crops, risk
insurance covers agricultural fields. The ministry itself participates in 80
percent of the premiums that farmers receive, as food supply is an issue of
national importance, the office said.
Despite the successful handling of
the locusts that have swarmed in thus far, the ministry has opened a situation
room in the area of Ramat Hanegev where the locusts have flocked, and
researchers at the office’s Agricultural Research Organization in Beit Dagan are
continuously exploring more advanced mechanisms for coping with the
Throughout the spraying process, pesticide manufacturer and
marketer Makhteshim Agan has been working with the Agriculture Ministry to
eradicate the insects as well as maintain an emergency stock of combatants
against them, the company said.
“Field workers at Makhteshim in the South
have been in the region and are following in real time the development of the
issue, and are ensuring that additional stock will be ready to continue to fight
the pest that can cause immense economic damage to agriculture in the South,”
said Shlomi Nahim, local marketing director for Makhteshim.
locust, or Schistocerca gregaria, weighs about 2 to 4 grams and is capable of
eating about half of its body weight within a few hours, the company explained.
Therefore, if not properly managed, an average swarm could swallow several tons
of food, reducing fields by 50-75%, within the span of 24 hours, the company