Small swarms of locusts have descended in some isolated parts of Banaskantha and Patan districts of north Gujarat since last few days, but there is no need for farmers to panic, officials said on Thursday.
The number of insects this time is much less as compared to the huge swarms that invaded parts of north Gujarat in December last year and affected standing crops in 25,000 hectares of area, they said.
After a gap of five months, smaller swarms of about 200 to 300 locusts have entered Banaskantha and adjoining Patan, Banaskantha district agriculture officer P K Patel said.
"Though we are not supposed to control such a small number of locusts as per international guidelines, we are spraying pesticides wherever we find the locusts. We sprayed chemical on a small swarm at a village near Deesa today. There is no need to panic," Patel said.
He said these smaller swarms of locusts might have separated from the large swarms that have descended in the desert of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, where an operation against the insects is underway.
"Such smaller swarms are not a threat. They are naturally controlled by peacocks, crows and other birds. We have also deployed hand-held pumps to spray pesticides so that farmers do not panic," Patel said.
In December last year, locusts from desert areas of Pakistan descended in Gujarat districts like Banaskantha, Mehsana, Kutch, Patan and Sabarkantha and attacked several crops like mustard, castor, cotton, fennel, jatropha and cumin.
The Gujarat government had then announced a compensation for farmers whose crops were damaged.