Tag Archives: sulphur-crested cockatoos

Dealing with Locusts and Other Native Pests

We do so love native animals, don’t we?

Well, as long as they don’t take the fruit off the trees in our garden; steal from our veggie patch; land in our swimming pool; pooh on the clothes on our clothesline; sit on our roof; nest in our roof or trees; or chew on our houses.

Let’s face it. Native animals are a pest. They can exist as long as they don’t bother us in any way at all.


I read today that a flock of 20 sulphur-crested cockatoos has been nibbling on the Sydney Campus Apartments, private student accommodation on the corner of Broadway and Bay Street, Ultimo. This has raised the ire of the City of Sydney Council and rather than work out a solution, they have brought in the big guns. Two have already been shot and now the remaining 18 are living on borrowed time, with a permit already taken out to kill them too.

There has been a public outcry and the cull has been temporarily suspended but I don’t like their chances.

All this and Cr Doutney from the Sydney City Council has attended a conference in Japan to discuss ways to encourage wildlife back to cities.

It is obvious that most people are so selfish that if they are in any way inconvenienced then they don’t care what measures are taken to relieve their irritation, as long as their stress is immediately reduced in the cheapest possible manner.

I think we could all agree that humans have one character trait that truly differentiates them from all the animals on earth – they are big hypocrites! But does that make us superior?


There is currently a lot of hysteria in Australia regarding the threat of a predicted locust plague.

Heavy rains have triggered a surge in locust activity and there are fears NSW could be facing its worst locust plague since 2004.

The government is tackling this by compulsory spraying which is proving controversial. The question is, how harmful are the chemicals being used?

According to http://cooberpedyregionaltimes.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/mla-locust-control-chemicals-may-expose-food-crops-and-livestock-in-sa/  Banned US neurotoxic insecticides Diazinon, Chlorpyrifos and others are about to be unleashed over South Australia to protect crops from locusts with a possible assistance scheme for farmers who choose to use these chemicals.

According to http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/…/locusts/the-australian-plaguelocust-landholder- control-strategies-for-nsw Fenitrothion is another recommended chemical. Fenitrothion degrades rapidly in the environment, but is extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic life and also to bees. Therefore, buffer zones must be observed. Withholding periods for grazing, cutting for stock feed, harvesting and slaughter must also be observed to avoid residues.

Concerns are that farmers and pastoralists may not have evaluated the impact on public health, that using toxins previously banned in other countries, may have on their own health, that of their families and the wider communities including ecological impacts.

So these chemicals will not only kill locusts but also every other insect within cooee (sorry but we do need spiders, ants, bees etc) and no doubt birds, lizards and whatever else eats the sprayed leaves or is rained down upon by the chemicals.

Furthermore, there are questions being raised about what the locusts really eat. They apparently aren’t that fond of wheat and when faced with a crop of wheat will only trim the edges before moving on. To see more about that, have a look at this very interesting programme http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2010/11/bth_20101109_1106.mp3

If humans are so advanced, why is everything they do an over reaction? And then they always turn to something that causes many more problems down the line than the thing they were trying to control. This is never so apparent as in medicine where a pill to cure one problem causes an even worse problem somewhere else in the body (arthritis medication that damages the stomach/ headache pills that damage the kidneys).

According to the above article –

The US Pesticide Action Network (PANNA) report in 2002 says that banned insecticides, diazinon is particularly hazardous to children. Where studies have been done, evidence from laboratory animals shows that early-life exposure to low doses of this class of chemicals reduces development of neural connections……  High exposures thus remain likely for those living in or near agricultural communities.

So our wheat will be now laced with dangerous chemicals which will contaminate the bread and flour products we all buy. The diazinon will sink through to the water table and disperse through water. Native animals will die, children will become ill and our health will be endangered.

It’s a pity that our intelligence is so underdeveloped that we can’t think of solutions that don’t have worse consequences than the problem we are trying to solve.


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