The insects sighted in Meru are green hoppers, not locusts, the county Agriculture department claimed on Thursday.
Executive in charge of Agriculture Carol Mutiga said officers dispatched to Ndumuru in Igembe North, where the destructive insects had reportedly been sighted, had established they were not desert locusts.
“After we got the alert, we sent a team of agriculture experts who have identified the insects as variegated green grass hoppers at a young stage. They appear in groups and feed on euphobia plants,” she said, adding that the insects had been eliminated by spraying.
She, however, said the department was on a “very high alert” following reports that the locusts had reached Garba Tula and Merti in Isiolo County from the northern counties of Garissa and Wajir where they have wreaked havoc.
“They are already in Isiolo and we are not taking chances because the moment they reach Meru we are talking of destruction on a huge scale,” she said.
Igembe North Deputy County Commissioner Charles Langat said government officials were monitoring the situation, and that there was no cause for alarm.
Ms Mutiga said the crop protection department of the Ministry of Agriculture had promised to dispatch an aircraft to carry out aerial spraying.
“The situation is not very bad but the crop protection desk will be giving priority to Meru because their spread will be disastrous. My officers are monitoring the situation and the regional locust control body is helping,” she said.