Australian plague locust update

Situation update - Outlook for autumn 2024

Australian plague locusts (Chortoicetes terminifera) are native insects that, if left unmanaged, can pose a serious threat to pastures, crops and horticulture.

There were few locust activity reports in Victoria during the summer 2023 - 24.

Locust populations were at low levels across inland eastern Australia with some localised medium-density populations in New South Wales.  In the Riverina district of New South Wales no reports of locust activity were received in January but short distance migrations and redistributions were detected. Rainfall in this district ranged from above average to very much above average providing favourable habitat.  Localised medium-density populations are possible but bands or swarms are unlikely.  Migration or dispersal events impacting Victoria are unlikely.

In Victoria localised breeding is possible in favourable habitat brought about by the very much above average rainfall during summer, however any resulting population is likely to remain at low levels. There is a low probability of significant migration events but some migrations or redistributions are possible during the autumn.

Overall there is a low risk of a regional infestations developing during autumn and it is  unlikely that locust numbers will be large enough to cause concern during the season.  Further information will be shared regularly by Agriculture Victoria as the season progresses.

A summary of locust activity throughout Australia is provided by the Australian Plague Locust Commission via the Locust Bulletin.

Where are locusts found?

Locusts naturally inhabit the far north-west of NSW and adjacent areas of Queensland and South Australia and the south-west region of Western Australia.

Intermittent locust populations may also be seen in varying concentrations from season to season around regional Victoria. In any given year, it is possible that locust swarms could migrate into Victoria from interstate.

Who is responsible for managing locusts?

In Victoria, government, public land managers, private landholders and the community all have a role to play in managing locust populations and minimising their impact.

Landholders are responsible for reporting and managing locusts on their land.

Agriculture Victoria continues to undertake surveillance and works closely with all stakeholders to provide relevant, timely and accurate information on locust populations and movements throughout the season.

Locust Management Strategies

Ground control using a chemical insecticide is the most successful method to manage locusts. The most effective time to spray locusts is at the second or third instar stage (around two weeks after hatching), when hoppers are wingless and band densities reach or exceed 80 hoppers per square metre. At this stage, hoppers form large, slow-moving bands, providing a clear target for efficient and effective insecticide use. Programs to treat adult flying locusts are generally ineffective.

For more information about various control options for the management of locusts, see Managing Australian plague locusts.

Report locusts

Landholders are responsible for reporting and managing locusts on their land. If you see locusts or locust activity (egg laying, swarming), please notify Agriculture Victoria as soon as possible so that we can monitor locust populations and movement. Phone the Customer Contact Centre on 136 186 or report online:

Report Australian plague locusts

Page last updated: 14 Mar 2024