Second wave of locusts advance to southern Dead Sea
The wave of locusts that hit Israel over the weekend intensified Saturday evening, with a fresh swarm of relatively large locusts being spotted over the southern city of Eilat and with the insects reaching as far north as the southern section of the Dead Sea.
The swarms of large locusts landed on Saturday evening near Faran in the Arava region and Neot Hakikar south of the Dead Sea.
The locusts were expected to move further northward on Sunday with the help of southwesterly winds.
However, the expected significant drop in temperatures on Sunday would force the locusts to remain on the ground and would slow their movement northward. This would make it easier for crop dusters to exterminate them from the air.
The Agriculture Ministry stated, however, that it wasn't clear whether the new swarms of locusts might move further north in Israel or carry on into Jordan.
The Agriculture Ministry began spraying the locusts with insecticide on Saturday morning after swarms hit agricultural areas in the southern Negev desert the day before.
The planes sprayed riverbeds near Kadesh Barnea on Israel's border with Egypt.
A wave of relatively large locusts was spotted flying over the southern city of Eilat earlier on Saturday. The swarm came in from the northwest and was seen at the outskirts of an Eilat neighborhood. This swarm then headed north and landed near Kibbutz Faran in the Arava.
The insecticide used to destroy the locusts was authorized by the ministry. The Plant Protection and Inspection Services promised they would use a diluted version of the chemical which wouldn't cause other animals to be poisoned should they consume the dead locusts.
Locusts were first spotted Friday afternoon in the southern neighborhoods of Eilat and in the hotel district of the city.
The younger locusts cause a relatively limited amount of damage, usually attacking gardens or vegetable patches. But one swarm, which was spotted near Kibbutz Eilot, concerned the members of the kibbutz, since fields of vegetables and melons - some already ripened and ready for harvest - could be seriously hurt.
Israeli officials and their counterparts in the region have been monitoring the locusts' movement for weeks. Earlier this month, a few individual locusts were spotted along the coastal plain and in communities including Palmahim, Tel Aviv and Karmiel.
The Agriculture Ministry received a request from its Palestinian counterpart to coordinate steps aimed at eliminating the locusts if they do arrive in the area.