How scary are locusts?

The locust pandemic is a terror to crops and people all over the world.

Recent locust pandemics

Historically, there were years called ' five locusts' - when these beetles raged and caused great consequences. In the United States, in 1874-1875, this group of flying animals spread from the eastern Rocky Mountains to Iowa and the Mississippi River, and from Texas through the Great Plains into the Canadian prairie provinces. The hardest hit areas are in Nebraska, Kansas and Dakotas (nearly 200,000 square miles). The researchers believe that the herd contains more than 120 billion and the largest in recorded history. Grasshopper epidemic developed intermittently, in the last century only occurred in 1926-34, 1940-48, 1949-63, 1967-69 and 1986-89.

The 21st century began not long ago but also recorded some locust epidemics. In June 2001, the Republic of Dagestan (Russia) had to cope with the grasshopper disaster when hundreds of millions of flocks swarmed through and devastated a vast agricultural area. In just one week, these insects destroyed more than 28,300 hectares of grasslands, beets and grains. More than 80,000 hectares of farmland have been attacked by grasshoppers and the area of ​​pest infestation has increased. Nearly $ 2 million has been spent to deal with this pandemic. At the same time, neighboring areas such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan and China also suffered from this horrific grasshopper disaster.

Picture 1 of How scary are locusts?
Grasshoppers are fully closed in Kenya, late 2019. (Source: al-ain.com).

In 2004, a desert locust epidemic swept into West Africa, leading to a food crisis. The places most affected are Senegal and Mali. A Malian official said 42 grasshoppers had landed in the country. A herd of grasshoppers has up to 80 million in a square mile and moving 80 miles a day can completely destroy a crop in just a few minutes. Mali has had to spray insecticides to cover an area of ​​about 800,000 hectares of crops.

In April 2010, countless grasshoppers swarmed on an area in eastern Australia, destroying crops and farms, prompting the country to set up a grasshopper disaster committee. The grasshoppers not only forged on the pasture but also destroyed the grain fields. This grasshopper pandemic destroyed an area of ​​nearly 500,000 km2, with a density of about 10 fish / m2. They are present everywhere and interfere with daily activities. According to FAO, major grasshopper incidents between 2003 and 2005 in more than 20 countries in northern Africa caused more than $ 2.5 billion in damages.

Since late 2012 West Africa has been alerted by the emergence of desert grasshoppers. Starting to proliferate from Chad, Mali and Niger, the herds of grasshoppers fly to North Africa. In March 2013, billions of grasshoppers flooded over half of Madagascar's territory and ate up the flowers and plants. This grasshopper later spread to many other countries in the region such as Egypt, Israel. Madagascar is a very poor country, 90% of the population of 22 million live on less than 2 USD a day, as of 2013.

In August 2014, the people of Madagascar again faced the panic when billions of grasshoppers were like a big cloud, making the sky dark. It is estimated that the largest grasshopper can stretch for kilometers and include billions of birds, flying together, covering entire roads, settlements, squares ., devastating about 2. / 3 Madagascar area - equivalent to the territory of Germany or Japan. Giant swarms of locusts have swept the island off the southeastern coast of Africa, devastating crops and other food supplies within hours.

In 2019, the giant grasshopper estimated to include hundreds of thousands of grasshoppers has massively flocked to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada state of America, making the daily life of the people here turned upside down. According to information from local media and experts, the wet weather could be a cause of this mass invasion . Earlier, the latest migration of grasshoppers in Las Vegas took place between 2012-2013.

The terror African people are facing

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), locust outbreaks in East Africa are currently at their worst in 25 years. Grasshoppers with an estimated number of hundreds of millions moving between East African countries at a speed of up to 130 km / day, devastating crops in every place they stop as well as seriously threatening cargo security is not. Somalia's government has declared a national emergency due to grasshoppers destroying food crops in one of the least developed and vulnerable countries in the world.

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Grasshoppers are said to be very omnivorous and move quickly. (Source: fr.sputniknews.com).

On New Year's Eve, Kenya faced the worst locust epidemic in 70 years when billions from the northeastern Africa attacked, flooding the country from Somalia and Ethiopia. AFP cites FAO estimates that a swarm of grasshoppers could be nearly 200 billion in Kenya, covering an area of ​​about 2,400 km2. At least 700 hectares of crops have been destroyed, seriously threatening food security in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya - three countries that have always been in a crop failure due to natural disasters, and are moving across the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, approaching the border. Tanzania.

A grasshopper is only 4.5-6cm long and weighs 2gr but can eat the amount of food equal to its weight per day. Grasshoppers range from less than a few hundred km2, in every square kilometer there can be 40-80 million heads, moving from 3 to 130-150km per day. According to National Geographic, at each landing site, an average herd of grasshoppers could devastate 192 million kilograms - the equivalent of crops consumed by the entire Kenyan population; Paris-sized grasshoppers can consume as much as half of the French population. With the current number of locusts in Kenya, one day can eat the same amount of food that the three states of the United States such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York combined, which is enough to feed 2,500 people in a year.

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Grasshopper victims are raging in many African countries. (Source: al-ain.com).

Grasshoppers cover the ground and eat everything they can find, first of all the vegetation, plants, flowers . Grasshoppers are also said to eat cloth blankets spread to cover. vegetable gardens, horse cart tires and even clothes on people's backs. They also eat horse harness, wooden handles, fence posts and anything made of paper. Recent data from the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group shows that more than 19 million people have been hungry (acute) in East Africa.

Desert grasshoppers can live up to five months, depending on the weather and local conditions. According to FAO, eggs can hatch in about two weeks, grasshoppers mature on average 2-4 months. Without timely control, the FAO estimates that the number of grasshoppers could increase 500 times in June, and spread to Uganda, South Sudan, spreading a food disaster to one of the world's poorest areas. . With the rapid proliferation of grasshoppers will occur status "conflict" of food sources with the cattle on the pasture. In addition, a strong outbreak will lead to disruption of farming activities for weeks to come. According to FAO, the situation in the Horn of Africa is extremely alarming.

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