“Yellow colour is an indication of maturity but not dying locust. However, at the later age the yellow colouring becomes very bright and the locusts will start copulating and laying eggs and at this stage we can say that they are dying. And unless one is following a swarm from the immature stage up to maturity no one can tell when the first egg laying has occurred, ” corrected Dr. George Ong’amo, an entomologist from UoN.
Speaking to the Corporate Affairs team, University of Nairobi, Dr. Ong’amo clarified, “The length of maturity depends on how well the immature stage fed and the weather conditions. If they are well fed the length of maturation is 2-4 weeks. After this, copulation will start and the female lay eggs 3 times at interval of 7-10 days. Therefore, depending on weather conditions, the life span of the mature stage is 35-50 days.”
At the same time, mature stage is not a feeding stage. They just move from one location to another to assess suitable breeding ground with little feeding for survival but not to accumulate energy. Therefore, they are not voracious like the immature ones and they don’t cause much harm to vegetation.
At mature stage, one swarm doesn't move together but it splits into several swarmlets; flying to different locations and this is what we are observing currently and receiving several reports of swarms from different corners.
“Exposed eggs are doomed! He called on all the counties experiencing the invasion to assist in exposing where the locusts lay eggs so that they can be sprayed,” he concluded.
Dr. George Ong’amo explained that grasshoppers also band but unlike desert locust they do not swarm and are not destructive.