Information for households and gardeners

Managing locusts in home gardens

There are chemical insecticide and non-chemical options available to individuals wanting to protect their home or community garden from locust damage.

Non-chemical options

Non-chemical options include using insect mesh or shade cloth that is not green in colour (locusts are attracted to green) or, if in very small numbers, manually catching and squashing the locusts.

Insecticide use

Ground control using a chemical insecticide is the most successful method of controlling locusts. The most effective time to spray locusts is when they are immature and do not have fully developed wings, around two weeks after hatching.  At this stage the hoppers are 8 to 12 mm and are starting to aggregate. Once locusts develop wings and become more mobile, they are extremely hard to control.

Individuals seeking to control locusts in their garden with an insecticide should only use products that are labelled for domestic use in or around the home. Domestic products are usually available in small pack sizes or as pre-mixed, ready-to-use formulations. If you’re unsure which insecticide to use, consult with your local chemical or home garden retailer.

If you have sprayed your home vegetable garden or fruit trees when treating locusts, you need to follow any withholding periods or 'DO NOT' statements on the product label. This will ensure that enough time has passed between spraying and harvesting your produce for consumption, and that risks to the environment are managed.

Are insecticides safe?

All insecticides legally sold in Victoria are registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)  and have passed rigorous testing to ensure they are safe and fit for their intended use. When using an insecticide, always read and follow the product label directions.

Tips for home gardeners using insecticides:

  • Follow all the label directions.
  • Take precautionary measures. Keep children and pets away, close doors and windows and remove toys, pet food and water before spraying.
  • Avoid spraying if it’s very windy.
  • Use recommended personal protective equipment as stated on the product label (such as gloves, safety goggles, trousers and long-sleeved shirts).
  • If the product needs to be mixed with water before application, measure the required quantities and the output to ensure you are using the right amount of chemical.
  • Only spray the locusts and area you want to treat – avoid water bodies (such as ornamental ponds, pet water) or plants in flower if you see bees around, as insecticides are highly toxic to bees.
  • Observe any re-entry periods stated on the label (a re-entry period is how long you should avoid entering the area after you have sprayed). Do not re-enter the treated area until the chemical has dried. If treating lawns, it is recommended not to re-enter the treated area for 12 hours after application unless wearing the appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment.
  • If spraying fruit, vegetables or nuts, observe any withholding periods and ‘DO NOT’ statements on the label. Withholding periods are designed to ensure that enough time has passed between spraying and harvest to ensure any residues left are below acceptable levels.
  • Stop using the product immediately if you begin to have any reaction (such as breathing problems, nausea, eye or nose irritation etc) and seek medical advice. If poisoning occurs ring the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 and read the product for further specific instructions.
  • Once you have finished spraying, follow all label instructions on storage, cleaning and disposal.
  • Always wash exposed skin, clothing and any equipment after use.

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: 13 Mar 2024