Locusts hurry to help coronavirus to Asia and Africa. The world has not known invasions of this magnitude of this gluttonous insect for decades. United Nations experts claim that insect infestations have contributed to extreme weather events associated with climate change. Frequent heavy rains on the Arabian Peninsula, caused by the increase in the number of cyclones since 2018, have created an ideal environment for breeding locusts.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), as many as three generations of locusts grew uncontrollably on the peninsula and last June began expanding to the west - to the countries of East Africa, and the east - to Pakistan and India. Already in June 2019, locusts crossed the Gulf of Aden and penetrated into Somalia and Ethiopia, propagating along the way. From eastern Ethiopia, locusts flew south to Djibouti and Kenya.
The same thing happened in the Pakistani and Indian regions, in which hordes of locusts literally covered everything - the roofs and stairs of houses, streets and highways, and, of course, agricultural land, according to the Hindustan Times.
The authorities of these countries launched a campaign to control locusts: special units poison insects with pesticides. Videos of swarms of locusts circling over cities, laid out by local residents.
CNN has devoted extensive material to how locust control works in Africa.
There, residents are forced to act by traditional means, trying to scare off the invaders with the help of noise. Meanwhile, billions of insects completely eat up all the vegetation in their path - trees, crops and pastures in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. FAO believes that this invasion will lead to the famine of at least 40 million people who are already food insecure.
The situation is complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, significantly slowing down the supply of important equipment for disaster management, and preventing the arrival of specialists from other countries in the affected regions.
Experts warn that if you do not stop the invasion now, then in June the number of locusts is 400 times, and then a catastrophe is inevitable.
Desert locusts are the oldest migratory pest in the world, it is considered the most dangerous of all types of migratory pests due to its ability to quickly multiply and empty crops. Its adults can grow to about the size of a person’s index finger. The female locust lays more than 150 eggs, of which young gluttonous insects appear in two weeks. And a month later they themselves become fertile. As new generations grow up, they begin to stray into groups and swarm. A single swarm of desert locusts can contain up to 80 million individuals per square kilometer, and migrate over very long distances.
In May 2020, a swarm the size of a modern metropolis with a length of 37 and a width of 24 kilometers was discovered in northern Kenya! For comparison: a swarm of locusts the size of Paris can eat as much as half a day the whole population of France eats! Hungry locusts today have turned many pastures and arable lands in African and Asian countries into a desert.