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  • Sai Charan

Locust Attacks Explained

Image Credit: CSIRO (Via Wikimedia Commons). Licensed under CC BY 3.0.

In 2018, A series of cyclones hit the dry regions of East Africa. This caused excessive vegetation growth. The desert locusts, a type of grasshoppers that inhabit this region started to congregate. The sudden crowding triggered a hormone that changed the locusts both physically and mentally. It started with a color shift from brown to yellow. Its body shrank and its endurance levels increased which optimized it for flight. Its appetite grew due to all of these changes. They ate voraciously and laid eggs.

When the eggs hatched, they formed hopper bands, swarms of thousands of non-flying insects that move together. They then started to develop wings. When they developed wings and took to flight, it became almost impossible to stop them. The locust swarms are currently riding the wind which is allowing them to travel up to a hundred and fifty kilometers a day. The swarms are covering areas as large as 2,400 square kilometers over three times the size of New York. A single swarm of this size can eat more food daily than 35,000 people can eat. These swarms of locusts are threatening food security in Africa, Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent.

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