In Queensland, 4 locust species are of economic importance:

All locust species are not a prohibited or restricted species under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Although they look similar, grasshoppers may often be confused with locusts. The main difference is the fact that they behave differently. Australian locusts often form into groups when nymph populations are dense, resulting in large-scale migrations from breeding areas. Grasshoppers generally remain solitary and localised. Learn more about grasshoppers.


  • Main difference between locusts and grasshoppers is that locusts swarm and grasshoppers do not.
  • See each locust species entry for detailed descriptions.

May be confused with

  • Wingless grasshopper (Phaulacridium vittatum)
  • Eastern plague locust (Oedaleus australis)

Distribution and habitat


  • Damages crops and pastures. A high density swarm can contain around a billion insects, which can eat 20 ton of vegetation a day. Locusts at both the hopper and adult stage can cause extensive crop and pasture damage. In Queensland, all crops can potentially be attacked, but summer crops are most at risk.
  • Invades previously uninfested areas, laying eggs and making swarm control difficult.

Life cycle

  • All locusts have 3 stages of life: egg, nymph (sometimes referred to as 'hopper'), and adult.
  • Read the locusts fact sheet (PDF, 5MB) for distribution for each species.

Natural enemies

  • Insectivorous birds and mammals, predator insects, parasitoids and diseases.


  • All landholders are responsible for locust management as part of their general biosecurity obligation under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • Preventative control while locusts are still in the nymph stage (unable to fly) or before adults lay eggs are the most economically effective measures to reduce the risk of locust swarms developing.
  • Locusts are readily controlled with insecticides if treated at the right time. Only chemicals registered or approved for use by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority are recommended.
  • The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is responsible for coordinating control if populations are beyond the capacity for landholder control and threaten key agricultural regions of Queensland. The Australian Plague Locust Commission also may implement control measures when it believes locust numbers are high enough to present an interstate threat.

Further information