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Locust plague to continue through Passover

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The Ministry of Agriculture is worried that the swarms of locusts entering Israel from Egypt are exhausting farmers in the Negev. Ministry inspectors have been observing locusts mating and laying eggs at several locations in the south, increasing concerns that the spraying of insecticides will continue for a long time to come.

On Friday, Ministry of Agriculture and Nature and Parks Authority experts decided not to spray open areas where the locusts were seen mating, but that the locations would only be sprayed later, after first concentrating efforts against more swarms that may enter the country from Egypt in the coming days.

The Ministry of Agriculture says that even if eggs are laid, the locust pupae cannot fly, and will therefore pose no threat to crops during the first few weeks of their lives. When the first swarms entered Israel, the ministry warned that the locusts' yellow color indicated sexual maturity, and that their mating season was in spring.

No new swarms were reported in Israel this morning. The previous swarm entered the country on Saturday, and planes and ground crews began spraying three sites covering 2,000 dunam (500 acres) in the Ramat Hanegev. The Ministry of Agriculture is continuing to monitor the movements of locust swarms in northern Sinai, in case they enter Israel. The ministry says that the swarms' movements depend on the wind direction.

The Ministry of Agriculture has been saying that it is ready to deal with the locust swarms, including simultaneous invasions from several directions, including from Sudan. The ministry added, however, that despite the swarms which have already entered the country in the past few weeks, damage to crops is minimal thanks to extensive and effective spraying operations.



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