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Desert Locust

Desert Locust

Desert Locust

 

 

 

 

 

The biblical locust was the Desert Locust, which has been threatening agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East and Asia for centuries. The Desert Locust is normally a solitary creature and actively avoids contact with other desert locusts. When conditions are right, particularly after lots of rain, contact becomes unavoidable. As the insects bump against one another, they begin to change. In an hour or so they become attracted to each other and swarm together. When they change into swarming locusts, they also attain the ability to adapt to a wide variety of habitats and food sources, making geography no barrier. These massive swarms can travel as many as 100 miles a day. In 1954, a swarm of locusts flew from Africa all the way to Great Britain, decimating crops along the way. Since the 1900’s, one of these epic plagues persisted for 13 years and covered as many as 460 square miles. A swarm that large would consume 423 million pounds of plants every day. To put this in perspective, a swarm the size of New York City would eat as much in one day as the human populations of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania combined.