© Queensland Government
© Queensland Government
The only species in its genus found in Australia, the yellow-winged locust is a flying insect with bright yellow wings. It looks similar to the migratory locust, but smaller. The yellow-winged locust makes a distinctive clicking noise when flying.
Yellow-winged locusts occur in all of Australia's mainland states. They damage crops from Cape York to the Lockyer Valley in Queensland.
The yellow-winged locust is not a prohibited or restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
- Insect with bright yellow wings, 35–50mm long when mature.
- Makes distinctive clicking noise when flying.
- Hind wings are bright yellow with black band along edge.
- Body colour varies from green to brown in normal conditions to straw-coloured when swarming.
- Found in pasture and cropping areas.
- See locusts fact sheet (PDF, 5MB) for distribution maps.
- Dense egg beds are laid in bare, compact soil.
- Eggs hatch after 17 days, producing nymphs.
- Nymphs take 40–50 days to become immature adults
- Immature adults take further 12–14 days to mature and lay eggs.
- Populations are highest spring-autumn.
- At high population densities, nymph bands and adult swarms can form.
- Adult swarms are infrequent, localised and spread slowly.
- Pastures, forage crops.
- Damages crops from areas in Cape York to Lockyer Valley in Queensland.
- Insectivorous birds and mammals, predator insects, parasites and diseases.
- Readily controlled with insecticides if treated at right time.
- Different insecticides can be used to control each locust species.
- Residues of some insecticides have negative effects on trade in agricultural products.
- Only insecticides registered or approved for use to control the yellow-winged locust by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority can be used in Queensland's cropping or livestock producing areas.
- Control of yellow-winged locust is landholder's responsibility.
- Biosecurity Queensland is responsible for recommending and coordinating control strategies in Queensland. The Australian Plague Locust Commission implements control measures when locusts reach sufficient numbers to present a threat to 2 or more states.
- Appropriate application methods for the insecticides used to control yellow-winged locust vary with the locusts' life stage and behaviour.
Nymphs – ground spraying
- Nymph bands can be sprayed with boom sprays. Isolated and small areas can be sprayed using misting machines or knapsack sprayers.
- No licence is required to control locusts on your own property using insecticides from ground-spraying equipment.
- When using agricultural insecticides, you must read and follow all product label instructions.
- Factors influencing movement of nymph bands and effectiveness of control include nymph density, weather and cover.
- Nymphs at densities below 30 insects per m2 move very little and don't form bands.
- Spraying in late afternoon is most effective, as nymphs tend to spread out during day. Strong winds may cause nymphs to shelter in cracks in ground or behind windbreaks.
- Dense, high pasture or crops should not be sprayed in still conditions, as wind turbulence is needed for spray to penetrate foliage.
- Nymphs die after contact with, or ingestion of, treated vegetation within 2–48 hours after spraying. Follow-up treatments may be necessary for up to 2 weeks after spraying, as several waves of bands will hatch from 1 egg bed.
Fledged and flying locusts – aerial spraying
- Once locusts have fledged or are flying, aerial spraying of agricultural insecticides is only efficient control method.
- The aerial application of agricultural insecticides is a regulated activity under the Agricultural Chemical Distribution Control Act 1966.
- Aerial spraying should be undertaken by a licensed aerial distribution contractor. Pilots in command of aircraft must hold a current pilot chemical rating licence.
- The yellow-winged locust is not a prohibited or restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive animals under their control.
- Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken for yellow-winged locust. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.
- Managing locusts in Queensland guide (PDF, 8MB)
- Locust fact sheet (PDF, 5MB)
- How to identify locust species (PDF, 3MB)
- Yellow-winged Locust poster (PDF, 3MB)
- Migratory locust
- Spur-throated locust
- Australian plague locust
- Spraying control methods
- Australian Plague Locust Commission
- Last reviewed: 28 Oct 2022
- Last updated: 28 Oct 2022