The Australian locust is a native and is a significant pest that can wreak incredible damage to pastures and any low-density edible plant in their path. They are found in most states; however, they are more common in the plains area of western Queensland and western New South Wales.
Locusts can range in size from 2 to 3 mm up to 50 mm in size during their growing life cycle. They range in colours from sandy brown to green and can be very spotted in appearance. Straight after rain and as soon as green shoots appear, locusts can be feeding on them and within one to two days of another rain event the female will lay her eggs. Locusts lay their eggs in pods in the ground. These pods can contain up to 50 single eggs. An adult female can lay a batch every 5 to 10 days. If the conditions are perfect millions of eggs can be laid in a very small area. Also if the conditions are suitable these eggs can be hatching out within two weeks of laying or they can lay dormant for months until the conditions are suitable.
Once they are hatched they are referred to as nymphs and will take up to 30 days to mature enough to fly and form bands. Once they have formed small bands they will travel up to 500 metres per day devouring anything edible in their path. Full adulthood is reached within six to seven weeks and then they can form into large swarms that can be visible from many kilometres away. If the prevailing winds are suitable they can travel over 20 km per day in search of food. Their destructive appetites can decimate entire crops.
Travelling when locust plagues are in full swarm can be extremely hazardous, particularly in the open plains country. If vegetation is suitable for them then it is impossible to travel anywhere without incurring large amounts on the windscreens and fronts of motor cars and trucks. Their pungent smell is quite sickening and their bodies leave a very waxy and hard-to-remove stain.
Protecting radiators in times of locust swarms can be an extremely difficult although a very important task. If large accumulations of locust remains are left surrounding a radiator core then it can cause the engine to overheat. Removal can also damage radiators and so it is far better to try and avoid this accumulation if possible.
One way to minimise the buildup of locusts around a radiator is to use some form of mesh that will allow air flow but capture the locust buildup prior to it hitting the radiator. It is also important to be able to remove this mesh for periodic cleaning. One ideal mesh for this particular purpose is Paw Proof mesh. Paw Proof mesh is designed for its durability and is used in security doors and insect screens where additional strength is required because of small cats and dogs. This mesh can be cut easily with sharp arrow scissors and fashioned to be placed in front of a radiator. Various means of anchoring the mesh are available. Some people actually have a full fly screen frame and others use such things zip ties.
To be certain, locusts can be very irritating and can damage radiators of cars and must be given the correct attention. Locusts generally appear in warm-to-hot temperatures and the accumulation of their remains will certainly expedite overheating of your engine.
Whatever method you use it is always wise to keep a very close eye on your heat gauge and remove the buildup frequently. Paw Proof mesh is available for order online in all Seconline fly screens and 7 mm Diamond hinge doors, sliding doors and window grilles.