The Sunday Mail
GOVERNMENT has launched an emergency quelea control operation after the invasion of at least 40 hectares by the pests.
The early planted winter wheat crop has reached grain filling stage, while the rest is at late tillering and booting.
Areas that have been affected by the migratory birds include Mashonaland East (Chikomba and Goromonzi districts), Mashonaland West (Makonde, Zvimba, Chegutu and Sanyati districts), Midlands (Kwekwe district), Masvingo (Chiredzi, Mwenezi and Masvingo districts) and Mashonaland Central (Bindura, Mazowe and Guruve).
Currently, one of the biggest roosting sites is at Hunyani Estates, measuring at least 40 hectares.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Online, the Department of Migratory Pests and Biosecurity Control communications officer, Ms Loveness Bamala, confirmed the invasion.
“The current update on the quelea situation indicates an increase in quelea populations in major roosting areas close to wheat-growing areas.
“August is the month that we experience high quelea populations in wheat-growing areas,” she said.
“We are talking of at least one-and-half hours of uninterrupted inflight of birds into the roosting site based on our assessment on Friday August 12, 2022. This population requires urgent control, and we are giving this site the highest priority.”
Ms Bamala, however, assured farmers that despite the invasion of the said areas, the situation is under control, with all control measures being in place to contain the damage to the winter wheat crop.