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Australian plague locusts

Locusts infected with  Green Guard®

, based on the naturally occurring fungus Metarhizium, is a biological pesticide which is effective against locust and grasshopper pests. Spores of the fungus are suspended in oil and then applied as an aerial spray to locust bands and swarms.

With the support of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, Australia is the first country to use Metarhizium against locusts. Green Guard® was used to successfully treat over 23,000 ha in the 2000/1 season.

Green Guard® is an attractive alternative for locust control in Australia because of the absence of environmental effects especially on aquatic organisms and birds and it leaves no residues in meat or crops. It can be used in organic beef areas and other areas where the use of chemical pesticides is undesirable.

The disease takes 10-14 days to kill a locust and thus is used more for preventative control on organic properties and in environmentally sensitive areas rather than for prevention of crop damage. Its cost is comparable with that of chemical insecticides.

Supported by: Australian Plague Locust Commission, Queensland Department of Natural Resources, NSW Agriculture