Hopper bands of desert locust infest a grazing area in Nakukulas, Turkana County, Kenya, 7 June 2020.
Photo: ©FAO/Luis Tato

New weapon to fight locusts

A new product called Green Muscle™, based on a specific isolate of the fungus Metarhizium acridum, stops locusts in their tracks.

CABI and Swiss biological control producers Éléphant Vert are stepping up the fight against crop-destroying locusts and grasshoppers with a product called Green Muscle™ which is now being used in Africa, CABI reported on its website in June 2020.

Locusts and grasshoppers regularly decimate crops in many parts of Africa and Asia, with locusts in particular invading in swarms of millions – leaving behind ravaged fields and putting livelihoods and food security at severe risk.

Green Muscle™ is based on a specific isolate of a fungus called Metarhizium acridum which only attacks locusts and grasshoppers, effectively stopping them in their tracks. In the first few months of this year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) released tenders for the supply of a Metarhizium acridum-based product for Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Éléphant Vert subsequently delivered Green Muscle™ to the authorities and spray teams are currently applying it under the supervision of the FAO. Samples of the product have also been sent to Uganda, Pakistan and India where the locust situation is getting worse.

Green Muscle™ stems from a programme called LUBILOSA “LUtte BIologique contre les LOcustes et SAuteriaux”, (biological control of locusts and grasshoppers), which was funded by the governments of Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Britain and the USA. The resulting product has been proven to work better than chemicals – provided it is applied on time to hopper bands before swarming starts.

CABI’s research has confirmed that Green Muscle™ is effective against various species, including Desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), Red locust (Nomadacris septemfasciata), Brown locusts (Locustana pardalina), Sahelian tree locusts (Anacridium melanorhodon), Variegated grasshopper (Zonocerus variegatus), Senegalese grasshopper (Oedaleus senegalensis), African rice grasshoppers (Hieroglyphus daganensis) and Sahelian grasshoppers.

(CABI/ile)

Read more at CABI website