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Millions of destructive locusts arrive in Mérida

Mérida, Yucatán — More than three million locusts have arrived outside the city of Mérida, causing great concern for the Comité Estatal de Sanidad Vegetal de Yucatán who say they have not been able to control the grasshoppers.

Nicomedes Castillo Díaz, president of the Comité Estatal de Sanidad Vegetal de Yucatán, says that extreme heat and lack of rain during 2018 has caused two large groups of the grasshoppers to settle on the banks of Mérida.

“The emergence of locusts occurs in hot years, has a greater presence,” he commented.

He says so far, they have not been able to control the mass amounts of the destructive insects. He explained that one of the groups, which contains about 3 million grasshoppers, is very close to inhabited areas, adding that for this reason, they are prohibited from using chemicals.

He noted that staff from Comité Estatal de Sanidad Vegetal de Yucatán are continually monitoring the locusts, hoping they move off to an areas where a control spray could then be applied in order to combat their destructiveness against area crops.

Since the end of December, several area residents of Mérida have posted photos of the masses of locusts that have been arriving.

Castillo Díaz says that they are working in collaboration with municipal authorities and civil society to locate the groups of insects and prevent them from moving to areas where they could do even more damage.

Meteorologist Juan Antonio Palma explained that the recent arrival of the masses of grasshoppers originates from events caused by El Niño, which created abnormal rains and then a period of drought that favors the development of locusts.

“As a result of an anomalous drought during the years of El Niño, the average, daily, monthly and annual temperatures are increasing,” he said, stressing that this could be one of the reasons for the emergence of these insects after four years.