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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 22:21 GMT
Cyprus farmers fight locust swarm
By Tabitha Morgan
BBC News, Nicosia

A Lebanese official shows off locusts which have arrived in the country in swarms and have also appeared in Cyprus
The locusts have already wrought damage in Lebanon
Agricultural experts in Cyprus are still fighting to control a plague of pink locusts which could pose a threat to the island's potato crop.

Officials believed they had contained the swarm, which first arrived on the island on Sunday.

But now a second wave is advancing along the western coast of the island.

Local farmers were taken aback to see the black clouds of locusts, stretching to a kilometre in length, swarming across their fields.

This is the first such infestation in living memory.

The insects, which are a pinkish red colour with black spots on their wings, are thought to have been attracted to Cyprus from west Africa by a period of unusually warm weather.

Farmers originally feared the locusts would consume this season's melon and banana crops.

In the event they ignored local fruit, preferring to concentrate instead on Cyprus' potatoes.

Scientists said the insects were exhausted from their journey and were easily controlled by pesticides.

Then, just as Agriculture Ministry officials believed they had contained the infestation, a fresh swarm arrived on Tuesday.

In the early parts of the 20th Century, locusts were a perennial blight on Cypriot agriculture.

After being successfully wiped out, their return has come as something of a shock to the island's farmers.


SEE ALSO:
Locust swarms descend on Cyprus
01 Nov 04  |  Europe
Locust crisis 'could get worse'
18 Oct 04  |  Africa
Taking arms against the swarms
07 Oct 04  |  Africa
In the eye of the swarm
31 Mar 04  |  Science/Nature
Country profile: Cyprus
20 Oct 04  |  Country profiles


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