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Freegrass

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Locust Swarm 2020
« on: May 28, 2020, 10:11:49 PM »
India faces its worst locust swarm in nearly 30 years

The pests have destroyed over 50,000 hectares of cropland, putting further strain on the food supply in India as authorities battle to contain the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Indian authorities sent out drones and tractors to track desert locusts and spray them with insecticides, in one of the worst locust swarms seen by the country in nearly 30 years. With about 50,000 hectares of cropland destroyed by locusts, India is facing its worst food shortages since 1993.

"Eight to 10 swarms, each measuring around a square kilometer, are active in parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh," K.L. Gurjar, the deputy director of India's Locust Warning Organization, told news agency AFP. The locusts have also made their way to other states of India including Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

On Monday, a swarm of locusts infested the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, after traveling into India from Pakistan. Gurjar warned that the locusts could move towards the capital city of Delhi if wind speed and direction was favorable.

Why a locust swarm is alarming

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) desert locusts typically attack the western part of India and some parts of the state of Gujarat from June to November. However, the Ministry of Agriculture's Locust Warning Organization spotted them in India as early as April this year.

A swarm of 40 million locusts can eat as much food as 35,000 humans, according to FAO estimates. The current swarm has destroyed seasonal crops in the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. This will lead to lower production than usual and a rise in prices of foodstuff.

An agrarian crisis and subsequent food inflation will severely impede India's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of migrant workers have died from hunger after India suddenly imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, leaving workers penniless. An agrarian crisis because of a locust swarm will further hamper relief efforts of the government.

Heavy rains and cyclones in the Indian Ocean are being cited by experts as reasons for increased breeding of locusts this year. The attack is also spread over a wider geography in India. The FAO has warned that the locust infestation will increase next month, when locusts breeding in East Africa reach India.

Other parts of the world affected by locusts

India isn't the only country attacked by a huge swarm of locusts this year. Pakistan,countries in East Africa, and Yemen have also faced the desert pests and their destruction. In February, Pakistan declared a national emergency because of locust attacks in the eastern part of the country. The pests damaged cotton, wheat, maize and other crops.

Earlier this month, the FAO said that it had made headway in dealing with the locust invasion by saving 720,000 tons of cereal in 10 countries.

https://www.dw.com/en/india-locusts/a-53579409
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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2020, 10:13:50 PM »
Desert Locust situation update 27 May 2020

Swarms move into northern India

In the past few days, there have been movements of adult groups and swarms in India, Oman, UAE, and Uganda.

SOUTH-WEST ASIA
Swarms are forming in the spring breeding areas and migrating east to the Indo-Pakistan border ahead of the monsoon rains.
• India. Spring-bred immature adult groups and swarms that arrived in Rajasthan from the west continued to move east in the eastern portion of the state and to the central states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. As of 26 May, at least one swarm had reached to the northeast of Bhopal. Much of these movements were associated with strong westerly winds from Cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal. Control operations are underway. Several successive waves of invasions can be expected until July in Rajasthan with eastward surges across northern India as far as Bihar and Orissa followed by westward movements and a return to Rajasthan on the changing winds associated with the monsoon. These movements will cease as swarms begin to breed and become less mobile. Swarms are less likely to reach south India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
• Pakistan. Adults are forming groups and small swarms in spring breeding areas in the southwest (Baluchistan) and the Indus Valley (Punjab). These infestations will move to the summer breeding areas along the Indo-Pakistan from Cholistan to Tharparkar. Control operations are underway in all areas.
• Iran. Adults are forming groups and small swarms in spring breeding areas along the southern coast and parts of Sistan-Baluchistan as vegetation is drying out. These infestations will move east to the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas. Control operations are underway.

ARABIAN PENINSULA
Important breeding continues in Yemen in the absence of survey and control operations.
• Yemen. Breeding is continuing in areas of recent rains in the interior where hopper bands and mature swarms have formed.
• Oman. Several immature adult groups moved from the northern interior near the UAE border to the north coast where they are expected to move along the coast to Ras Al Hadd before crossing to southeast Pakistan. Other groups moved from the interior breeding areas to Dubai. Control operations are underway.
• Saudi Arabia. Control operations were carried out against immature adult groups in the northern interior near Hail and Gassim, and against mature adult groups further south near Wadi Dawasir and Najran.

EAST AFRICA
The current situation remains extremely alarming in East Africa where Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia continue to face an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods. New swarms from current breeding will form from mid-June onwards, coinciding with the start of the harvest. Thereafter, there is a risk that swarms will migrate to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border as well as to Sudan and perhaps West Africa.
• Kenya. Ground and aerial control operations continue against hopper bands in the northwest (Turkana, Marsabit). A few late-maturing swarms were seen south of Lodwar and new infestations were found along the Tana River where hopper bands are present.
• Ethiopia. A few immature and mature swarms remain in the south. Breeding has increased in the Ogaden and hopper bands have present. Breeding continues near Dire Dawa where hopper bands persist, and adults have formed groups and swarms. Breeding also occurred in Afar and on the eastern edge of the highlands, causing hopper bands to form. Ground and aerial control operations continue.
• Somalia. Breeding is underway in central areas (Galkayo and Galmudug) where scattered adults and hopper groups are present. Breeding is also underway in the northwest where hopper bands and groups of immature and mature adults are present on the plateau (east of Burao to the west of Boroma) and the coast near Bulhar. Hopper groups are also present in the northeast near Garowe. Control operations are underway.
• Uganda. On the 26 May, at least one swarm was seen in the northeast district of Kaaborg that was probably moving towards South Sudan.
• Sudan. Scattered gregarious adults are present near the South Sudan border at a few places in Blue Nile, While Nile, and South Kordofan states. A few adults persist in the Nile Valley north of Kordofan.

WEST AFRICA
The situation is currently calm. There is no indication so far of spring-bred swarms forming or leaving Arabia. Swarms will not form in East Africa (Kenya and Ethiopia) until about mid-June. Thereafter, they will move north to Sudan and if they arrive before the summer rains, then they are likely to continue west to eastern Chad and beyond. While the current threat remains low, it can change significantly in the coming weeks based on rainfall, winds, and the locust situation in Arabia and East Africa. Therefore, investments in preparedness and anticipatory actions should be immediately and quickly scaled up to face this potential threat.
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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2020, 10:29:27 PM »
Gigantic new locust swarms hit East Africa

New invasions are hitting just as growing season gets underway, threatening millions with hunger.

PUBLISHED MAY 12, 2020

“THESE...SWARMS...ARE TERRIFYING,” ALBERT Lemasulani narrated breathlessly as he recorded a video of himself swatting his way through a crush of desert locusts in northern Kenya this April. The insects, more than two inches long, whirred around him in thick clouds, their wings snapping like ten thousand card decks being shuffled in unison. He groaned: “They are in the millions. Everywhere…eating...it really is a nightmare.”

Lemasulani, 40, lives with his family in Oldonyiro, where he herds goats that survive on shrubs and trees. He’d previously heard of locusts only from stories passed down in the community. That changed earlier this year when the largest invasion of the voracious insects in decades descended on East Africa. With their seemingly bottomless appetites, locusts can cause devastating agricultural losses. An adult desert locust can munch through its own bodyweight, about 0.07 ounces, of vegetation every day. Swarms can swell to 70 billion insects—enough to blanket New York City more than once—and can destroy 300 million pounds of crops in a single day. Even a more modest gathering of 40 million desert locusts can eat as much in a day as 35,000 people.

This is the worst “upsurge”—the category of intensity below “plague”—of desert locusts experienced in Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and in Kenya for 70 years. The region’s growing season is underway, and as the swarms have grown while the coronavirus complicates mitigation efforts, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates up to 25 million East Africans will suffer from food shortages later this year.

Some 13 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, and Eritrea already suffer from “severe food insecurity,” according to the FAO, meaning they may go without eating for an entire day or have run out of food altogether.

“We fear for our future because these kinds of swarms will mean we don’t have anything to feed our animals,” Lemasulani says. Farmers are equally worried about their crops. “We pray God will clear the locusts for us. It’s as terrifying as COVID-19.”

In the beginning

Desert locusts flourish when arid areas are doused with rain, because they seek to lay their eggs in damp, sandy soil near vegetation that can sustain the young until their wings develop enough for the insects to forage farther afield.

Usually, when locusts have space to spread out, they actively avoid one another. But in favorable circumstances, desert locust populations can multiply 20-fold every three months. Crowding together as a result of this increased breeding triggers a behavior change. No longer loners, they turn into social or “gregarious” creatures, forming large swarms.

Recently, conditions for procreation and migration have been not just favorable—but ideal. In 2018 and 2019, a series of cyclones that scientists link to unusually warm seas rolled in off the Indian Ocean and soaked a sandy desert in the Arabian Peninsula known as the Empty Quarter. A locust boom followed.

“We often think of deserts as environments that are very harsh and low productivity, which they are a lot of the time,” says National Geographic grantee Dino Martins, an entomologist, evolutionary biologist, and executive director of the Mpala Research Centre in northern Kenya. The center is working to sequence the desert locust’s genome to to learn what environmental and genetic factors may prompt the locusts’ transformation from solitary to gregarious. “When [deserts] have the right conditions, they can flip, and you can move to a situation with lots of biological activity. That's basically what we're seeing now,” he says.

By June 2019, large swarms were on the move, traveling over the Red Sea to Ethiopia and Somalia. Aided by uncommonly heavy rains that buffeted East Africa from October to December, the insects spread south to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Since the locusts first reached East Africa, favorable breeding conditions have continued, and the swarms have expanded. “I can’t tell you if it’s by 20 times, but [the population] is much bigger,” says Cyril Ferrand, Resilience Team Leader for East Africa at the FAO, which monitors the desert locust situation globally.

When the first wave of locusts arrived in the region in late 2019, most of last year’s crops had reached maturity or been harvested. But the timing of the current, so-called “second generation”—an even more massive wave—is especially worrisome.

That’s because East Africa’s primary growing season begins around mid-March, and the emerging plants are particularly vulnerable to locusts, says Anastasia Mbatia, the technical manager of agriculture at Farm Africa, a charity that works with farmers, pastoralists, and forest communities in East Africa. “When [locusts] feed on the germinating leaves, the crop cannot grow,” she says. “Farmers would need to sow seeds again.” But a second planting in the weeks ahead likely would not be successful, as the best growing weather has already passed.

Spraying for relief

To stem the explosion of locusts, governments often spray pesticides—either from the air or directly on the ground. FAO’s Ferrand says sourcing such chemicals during the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge. “We have had delays in supply. That means managing the [pesticide stocks] today is a very different reality because there are fewer planes moving globally,” he says.

Even more difficult in places such as Kenya that have little experience with gigantic locust invasions is deciding where to spray. Depending on the winds, which largely determine locust flight patterns, a swarm might travel 80 miles in a day. (In 1988, desert locusts were found to have crossed from West Africa to the Caribbean in just 10 days.)

To chase down these highly mobile swarms, the FAO is relying increasingly on information provided by local people, including Lemasulani, who began voluntarily tracking locust swarms in January.

Drawing on an extensive network of contacts who call him when they spot pockets of the insects, Lemasulani hires motorbike taxis to speed him to swarms. When he finds them, he enters their coordinates in a mobile phone app called elocust3m that was released in late February by David Hughes and his colleagues at Penn State University’s PlantVillage program, an open access public resource for smallholder farmers. Hughes developed the app at the request of the FAO, whose field staff have operated a similar tracking program on specialized tablets since 2014. The data are then shared with the government, which can decide how best to react.

Until recently, when PlantVillage began paying him a stipend to cover his transport and telephone costs, Lemasulani paid for his locust scouting out of his own pocket. (His travels have been exempted from COVID-19 restrictions, as are training sessions for new elocust3m volunteers—residents in areas where swarms are expected—who nonetheless must wear masks and stay six feet apart.)

As Lemasulani wraps a red shawl around his shoulders to protect himself from the rain that has begun to fall outside his home, he says over video chat, “I come from a poor family background and got sponsored by the Catholic church in Oldonyiro though my primary and high school years. I was sponsored by a person I have never met. There is no way I can pay my sponsor back, but I feel noble giving back to my community.”



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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2020, 11:57:25 PM »
Famine risk for millions in second locust wave

https://phys.org/news/2020-05-famine-millions-locust.html

A second wave of desert locusts in Africa and Asia is threatening famine for millions as critical resources are directed towards the COVID-19 crisis, scientists warn.

Desert locusts are already swarming in East Africa and breeding in Iran and Pakistan, as well as Yemen, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says.

The outbreak, which has been raging since last year, has so far placed around 20 million people at acute food insecurity in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, according to the FAO.

Swarms have "been damaging crops and pastures and crippling communities in the Greater Horn of Africa, Arabian Peninsula and Southwest Asia" since October, explained World Resources Institute climate programme research analyst Tina Huang.

However, without action the locust population "could grow 400 times larger by June 2020 and spread to new areas, disrupting food supply, upending livelihoods and requiring substantial resources to address", the World Bank says.

The level of threat in West Africa could also change significantly in the next few weeks based on rainfall, winds and the locust situation in Arabia and East Africa, the FAO says.

"Investments in preparedness and anticipatory actions should be immediately and quickly scaled up to face this potential threat," its latest situation update says.

It warns that swarms risk migrating to summer breeding areas in India and Pakistan, as well as Sudan and parts of West Africa, including the Sahel and Chad.

On top of the global COVID-19 emergency, Yemen is also facing multiple crises from violent conflict and disrupted health systems, while flooding in East Africa has killed about 300 people and displaced half a million, according to the Red Cross.

Daniel Otaye, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Kenya's Egerton University, says countries in East Africa seem unprepared to deal with a second wave of locusts.

"Policymakers in Sub-Saharan Africa should be strongly advised not to forget the locust outbreak amid [the] COVID-19 outbreak," Otaye says.

"The two challenges should be fought concurrently."

The World Bank estimates that, in Africa alone, more than 90 million hectares of cropland and pasture are at risk from the second wave, with damages and losses reaching US$9 billion.


FAO desert locust global forecast May-July 2020. Credit: SciDev.Net

In East Africa, pesticide shipments to the worst-affected areas have already been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The biggest challenge we are facing at the moment is the supply of pesticides and we have delays because global air freight has been reduced significantly," says Cyril Ferrand, the FAO's resilience team leader for East Africa.

Kim Kariuki, engagement director at the Busara Center for Behavioural Economics in Kenya, says a second wave of locusts could exacerbate already-disrupted global supply chains.

"This would have untold effects on food security … leaving smallholders even more vulnerable than before and jeopardising the economic outlook for recovery in the affected countries," he explains.

The World Bank says repercussions will go beyond the economy and could last generations.

"When affected households and families struggle to meet basic needs such as food and shelter, nutrition, healthcare, and education may be neglected, hindering long-term health and development, especially of children," the organisation says.

"Studies of past locust plagues found a notable decrease in school enrolment in affected areas as well as evidence of stunting in infants and children."

Action plans

Otaye says governments in the region have diverted resources to control COVID-19, to the neglect of fighting the locust invasion.

But Keith Cressman, the FAO's senior locust forecaster, tells SciDev.Net efforts to control the locust outbreaks are ongoing.

"So far, more than 240,000 hectares have been treated with chemical pesticides or biopesticides across the East Africa region and 740 people have been trained up to conduct ground locust control operations," he says.

Stephen Njoka, the director-general of the Desert Locust Control Organisation for East Africa, says the organisation is working with national governments and the FAO to control the locusts from the air and on the ground.

"However, the new generation hoppers are now of age and very voracious," he says.
And so we pray...

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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2020, 12:09:23 AM »
Fighting a locust plague amid Covid-19 in east Africa

The recent coronavirus pandemic is only exacerbating the problems currently facing herders, also known as pastoralists, in Kenya. They’ve seen their livestock devastated and crops destroyed after the worst locust invasions in 70 years and villagers are bracing themselves for another swarm, 400 times larger if left unchecked.  With less vegetation for grazing, herders can sometimes infringe on neighbours land, causing violent conflict. We follow Josephine Ekiru, a peace-builder, who is trying to help as economic insecurity caused by the pandemic fuels attacks

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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2020, 12:22:44 AM »
Locust swarms stretching kilometers devour Indian crops
ABC News (Australia)

Indian authorities have issued an alert over locust swarms - some stretching to nearly five kilometres.

The plague originated in Africa and entered India via Pakistan last month. As Yvonne Yong reports, it's being described as the worst attack by the insects in 25 years.

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2020, 12:31:57 AM »
The pandemic threatens the people of East Africa -- and now locusts threaten their food
PBS NewsHour

As COVID-19 threatens the people of East Africa, locusts threaten their livestock and their food. The region suffered an initial swarm of the destructive insects in February but is now ravaged by a second wave 20 times larger. Pesticides can help, but pandemic border closures complicate delivery. And the populations directly affected are already vulnerable and food insecure. Nick Schifrin reports.

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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2020, 01:21:27 AM »
Locust swarms and climate change
Interview with Richard Munang, United Nations Environment Programme expert on climate and Africa

https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/locust-swarms-and-climate-change

East African nations have been battling with swarms of desert locusts since the beginning of 2020. In what is being called the worst outbreak the region has seen in decades, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warns that rising numbers of desert locusts present an extremely alarming threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa.

According to the organization’s recent update on the desert locust upsurge, the current situation may be further worsened by new breeding that will produce more locust infestations in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia and possibly further afield.

We interviewed Richard Munang, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) expert on climate and Africa, on the relationship between environmental factors, climate change and the locust emergency.

What is the relationship between locusts and and climate change?

During quiet periods—known as recessions—desert locusts are usually restricted to the semi-arid and arid deserts of Africa, the Near East and South-West Asia that receive less than 200 mm of rain annually. In normal conditions, locust numbers decrease either by natural mortality or through migration.

However, the last five years have been hotter than any other since the industrial revolution and since 2009. Studies have linked a hotter climate to more damaging locust swarms, leaving Africa disproportionately affected—20 of the fastest warming countries globally are in Africa. Wet weather also favours multiplication of locusts. Widespread, above average rain that pounded the Horn of Africa from October to December 2019 were up to 400 per cent above normal rainfall amount. These abnormal rains were caused by the Indian Ocean dipole, a phenomenon accentuated by climate change.

How can countries and individuals be better prepared?

While climate change is a global phenomenon, Africa stands out for its vulnerability which is driven primarily by the prevailing low levels of socioeconomic development. Persons living in poverty face compounding vulnerabilities to climate change impacts because they lack the resources to quickly recover from its effects. In this case, desert locusts are ravaging crops in the field before harvesting, wiping out livestock and wildlife feed, and with them savings, assets and livelihoods.

Deployment of climate action solutions such as decentralizing solar dryers to agro-value chain actors can ensure that they can earn up to 30 times more by being able to preserve their harvest and sell during the offseason or gives them flexibility to compensate for unpredictable events such as these locust swarms. It can also create enterprise opportunities for auxiliary value chains of fabricating these solar dryers. Interventions like this are critical to increase climate resilience for some of the most vulnerable communities across the continent. 

How can locusts be controlled?

Controlling desert locust swarms primarily uses organophosphate chemicals by vehicle-mounted and aerial sprayers, and to a lesser extent by knapsack and hand-held sprayers.

Extensive research is ongoing regarding biological control and other means of non-chemical control with the current focus on pathogens and insect growth regulators. Control by natural predators and parasites so far is limited since locusts can quickly move away from most natural enemies. While people and birds often eat locusts, this is not enough to significantly reduce population levels over large areas.

What is the role of the United Nations in locust control?

The United Nations’ response to locust attack control is multi-agency in nature. While the immediate sector at risk is food security, climate change plays an exacerbating role.

One of UNEP’s roles is to disseminate the latest science on emerging climate trends to inform cross-sectorial policies and ensure resilience is built in the relevant sectors.

The role of the World Meteorological Organization is to forecast the more immediate weather changes that may exacerbate the locusts’ attacks.

While the traditional form of control considered is use of pesticides, the impact of these chemicals on the environment and other critical ecosystems key to food security—such as bees and other insects, which not only pollinate up to 70 per cent of our food but also may have an impact on human health—cannot be overlooked. The World Health Organization's role is to classify potential risks of different chemical agents to enable governments to invest in the safest one.

One of the mandates of the Food and Agricultural Organizations is to provide information on the general locust situation and to give timely warnings and forecasts to those countries in danger of invasion. The organization operates a centralized desert locust information service. In addition, empowering communities with technologies for value addition such as solar dryers—which are also climate action solutions—enables them to preserve their harvest. This makes it possible for an early harvest at the onset of attacks to ensure they save most of their yields.
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2020, 03:37:39 AM »
Centre steps in after locust attack spreads to 5 states, swarm splits into two: Latest updates

In view of rising concerns of possible locust attack, the Odisha government on Wednesday issued guidelines for farmers.

Centre has pitched in to help states battling an attack by the desert locusts. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on Wednesday informed that locust control operations have been stepped up in affected states to combat the menace.

“89 fire brigades for pesticide spray; 120 survey vehicles; 47 control vehicles with spray equipment and 810 tractor-mounted sprayers have been deployed for effective locust control, as per requirement during different days,” the ministry said.

Five states - Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh - are affected by the swarms moving at great speed.

“As of today, there are active swarms of immature locust in Barmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Sikar, Jaipur Districts in Rajasthan and Satna, Gwalior, Seedhi, Rajgarh, Baitul, Devas, Agar Malwa district of Madhya Pradesh,” the ministry said on Wednesday.

In Maharashtra, officials reported that the swarm split into two groups after pesticide was sprayed between Monday night and Tuesday morning. One group is moving towards Parseoni in Nagpur while the other entered Bhandara, said officials.

“The swarm travelled over 100 km on Wednesday from Andhalgaon, Mohadi taluka back into Ramtek tehsil in Nagpur, and again into Tumsar Bhandara. They have settled at orchards surrounding Temani,” said Ravindra Bhosale, divisional joint director agriculture.

The state agriculture department issued a ‘locust warning alert’ for all 11 districts in Vidarbha and four districts in north Maharashtra.

In view of rising concerns of possible locust attack, the Odisha government on Wednesday issued guidelines for farmers in the state and asked them to take preventive steps suggested in this regard.

As preventive measures, farmers need to spray their crops with a solution based on neem seeds extract mixing with water or they can also spray their crops with neem-based pesticides available in the market by mixing with water as suggested in the guidelines.
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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2020, 11:59:37 AM »
Amazing... No complaints today?
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2020, 12:07:51 PM »
Amazing... No complaints today?

it's early yet .. :)
2007 + 5 = 2012 + 4 = 2016 + 3 = 2019 + 2 = 2021 + 1 =  ' if only we could have seen it coming ' ...

Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2020, 12:10:55 PM »
And so we pray...

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2020, 05:07:21 PM »
From reply #2:
Quote
This is the worst “upsurge”—the category of intensity below “plague”—of desert locusts experienced in Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and in Kenya for 70 years. The region’s growing season is underway, and as the swarms have grown while the coronavirus complicates mitigation efforts, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates up to 25 million East Africans will suffer from food shortages later this year.
Good grief, if this doesn't count as a plague, what would?
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2020, 05:41:07 PM »
Good grief, if this doesn't count as a plague, what would?
It's biblical! That's why I was surprised there wasn't a thread about this yet. This is a major catastrophe in the making!
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2020, 04:31:44 AM »
Amazing... No complaints today?

it's early yet .. :)
True...

I don't understand this little discussion, having seen all posts above it. What complaints do you mean?
It seems that be cause understands so I must be missing something. Could you please explain? (yes I know it is not important but please satisfy my curiosity)
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2020, 10:32:16 AM »
Let's not create conflicts for nothing.

This was on the Austrian news two days ago.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2020, 11:21:43 AM »
Let's not create conflicts for nothing.
I wholeheartedly agree Neven...
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2020, 01:29:16 PM »
It's not  a "Locust Swarm 2020" - it's persistent and repetitive. It fits the pattern of unfortunate events due to climate change becoming longer and stronger.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/08/rolling-emergency-of-locust-swarms-decimating-africa-asia-and-middle-east
‘Rolling emergency’ of locust swarms decimating Africa, Asia and Middle East
Unseasonal rains have allowed desert pests to breed rapidly and spread across vast distances leaving devastation in their wake


http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/en/info/info/index.html
Spring-bred swarms will spread to summer breeding areas

The unprecedented Desert Locust threat to food security and livelihoods continues in the Horn of Africa and is likely to spread to southwest Asia and perhaps West Africa.
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2020, 01:59:00 PM »
It's not  a "Locust Swarm 2020" - it's persistent and repetitive. It fits the pattern of unfortunate events due to climate change becoming longer and stronger.
True. I'm ok with changing the title of this thread, because this won't be over any time soon. It's an underreported disaster that needs way more attention.
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2020, 02:08:50 PM »
We have half a year so pm me January next year if it is needed.  ;)

One reason it is persistent might have to do with the Covid stuff hampering the usual intervention methods?
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2020, 02:20:42 PM »
Covid didn't help, but this already started way before that. The third message I posted in this thread explains the beginnings of the swarm.

Quote
Recently, conditions for procreation and migration have been not just favorable—but ideal. In 2018 and 2019, a series of cyclones that scientists link to unusually warm seas rolled in off the Indian Ocean and soaked a sandy desert in the Arabian Peninsula known as the Empty Quarter. A locust boom followed.
Quote
By June 2019, large swarms were on the move, traveling over the Red Sea to Ethiopia and Somalia. Aided by uncommonly heavy rains that buffeted East Africa from October to December, the insects spread south to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/05/gigantic-locust-swarms-hit-east-africa/
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2020, 01:16:03 AM »
Pakistan Battles Locusts By Turning Them Into Chicken Feed
https://phys.org/news/2020-06-pakistan-locusts-chicken.html

Chickens in Pakistan have been feasting on captured locusts under an initiative to combat swarms of the insects that are threatening food supplies in the impoverished country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has endorsed plans to expand a pilot project in the bread-basket province of Punjab, where villagers earned cash to gather locusts that were then dried out, shredded and added into poultry feed.

Farmers are struggling as the worst locust plague in 25 years wipes out entire harvests in Pakistan's agricultural heartlands, leaving people scrambling for income.

Muhammad Khurshid from Pakistan's food ministry and biotechnologist Johar Ali set up the programme, drawing on efforts in war-ravaged Yemen, where authorities have encouraged people to eat the protein-rich locusts amid famine.

The pair chose Punjab's Okara district, where farmers had not used any pesticides that would make locusts unsuitable for consumption.

"We first had to learn, and then teach the locals how to catch the locusts. Nets are useless against them," Khurshid told AFP.

At night the creatures cluster on trees and plants, making them easy to scoop up as they lie motionless in the cooler temperatures until the sun begins to rise.

For a reward of 20 rupees (12 cents) per kilogram of locusts, locals worked all night to collect them.

One farmer who lost all her crops to the insects said she and her son earned 1,600 rupees ($10) during a single locust-gathering outing, helping to offset the financial damage.

Organisers struggled at first to convince farmers to join the hunt, but by the third night word had spread and hundreds joined in—turning up with their own bags to stuff full.

With 20 tonnes of captured locusts, authorities ran out of money to pay the collectors and the programme was paused.

The ministry, which recently announced the results of February's pilot, is now preparing to expand the project to other locations.

The harvested locusts went to Hi-Tech Feeds—Pakistan's largest animal-feed producer—which substituted 10 percent of the soybean in its chicken food with the insects.
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2020, 01:38:35 AM »
Nice find VM. Thank you for keeping this thread updated!  :)

I've eaten grasshoppers and other insects in Thailand, and it's not all that bad when they are deep-fried. But what after they're gone with all the crops? So many farmers are gonna be left with nothing...  :'(
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2020, 11:34:57 PM »
Massive locust burst feared after above-average monsoon

LAHORE: National Agromet Centre has warned that around 10 percent higher rains, expected in the upcoming monsoon season, are going to provide a perfect environment for the locusts to thrive, which in the absence of drastic countermeasures could prove disastrous for the country’s agriculture production.

This above average amount of rainfall and resultant extensive growth of vegetation would be ideal for new invading swarms in June and July from Africa and other south and south-western breeding areas.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the number of locusts is feared to grow 400 times by June onward and is likely to cause a crisis if left unchecked.

Amid growing concern of fresh attacks of locust looming large, it is learnt that officials of Pakistan and India are going to meet in the third week of June tentatively in a border town of Sindh to ponder ways and means to repulse locust infestation. A senior official of Punjab Agriculture Department said a meeting in this connection would be the first direct contact between the authorities of both countries for dealing with this developing challenge, threatening crops on millions of acres of farmland.

In this explosive unfolding situation, stakeholders of agriculture sector have also warned the government about imminent danger to Kharif crops from another wave of locust.

“As a massive attack of locust is being seen subsiding since last week, there is no room at all for any complacency as a much bigger wave of deadly locust is approaching towards the plains of the country within a few days or weeks,” said Shehzad Ali Malik, ex-Chairman Rice Exporter Association of Pakistan (REAP) while referring various forecasts of international and national bodies.

The rice crop was particularly in danger in Sindh and Punjab from the attack of locust, he said and adding, “we have no capacity to counter new huge locust swarms”. “The Department of Plant Protection’s (DPP) ability to cope with the situation has been eroded with passage of time mainly due to lack of resources.” He claimed the DPP had only one plane at its disposal for aerial spray, which was an effective tool for fighting infestation of desert locust, a relentless crop munching insect.

Malik said the paddy would be at the flowering stage in the next five to six weeks and with a healthy plant structure, adding it could be a target for the new swarms of locust if agencies concerned failed to take swift remedial measures and any damage to rice and other Kharif crops would create serious food security and economic challenges for farmers as well as for the whole country. “Not only food security of the country would God-forbid in jeopardy, the momentum of healthy exports would also be adversely affected due to this menace,” he observed.

Keeping in view such alarming scenarios, he said, the government had no other option but to focus on elimination of locust swarms without any delay.

As per latest National Agromet Centre forecast regarding the impact of weather on locust growth, monsoon rainfall is expected to be slightly above normal (+10 percent) during July to September 2020 in Pakistan. Sindh and Kashmir are likely to receive moderately above normal (+20 percent) rainfall during the season.

The higher rains would provide favorable environment for locust breeding during monsoon season.

Moreover, temperatures are expected to remain higher than the requisite criteria (>35 °C) in most parts of the lower half of the country. However, it is satisfactory to note that higher temperatures may decrease the lifetime of Locust (below 6 months) and their activities may also be affected.

Generally, winds are expected to be southwesterly in lowland areas especially over the Sindh province, which comprises vulnerable areas. Fortunately, it is expected that these winds would push locust away towards eastern border or Indian side.

According to the latest assessment of National Agromet Center, locust has been confirmed in 53 districts of Pakistan. Balochistan is leading with 33, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 10, Sindh 08 and Punjab with 02 districts at present. Early migration of spring-bred swarms from southwest Pakistan to Rajasthan, India occurred in May before the monsoon. Control operations are underway by using insecticides.

As precautionary measures, widespread and appropriate insecticides spray using aeroplanes/helicopters or special vehicles in the affected areas, is the only solution to control the spread of locust. Otherwise, an environment conducive to locust breeding during monsoon season would multiply the insects massively.
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2020, 02:29:52 AM »
Desert Locust situation update
13 June 2020

New swarms about to form in East Africa

A second-generation of immature swarms have now started to form in northwest Kenya as of 9–11 June. Swarm formation will continue for about four weeks while the bulk of the swarms will form during the second half of June.

Prior to migration, swarms will remain for a short time during which there is a considerable threat to crops and pastures in Turkana and Marsabit counties. From about 15 June, an increasing number of swarms are expected to migrate northwards with the prevailing winds to Ethiopia and Sudan. In Ethiopia, swarms are likely to first appear in the south and continue to Oromia, Somali, Amhara, Afar and Tigray regions.

It will take about one week for swarms to migrate from northwest Kenya to Sudan. During that time, they will traverse South Sudan (mainly east of Juba, Bor, and Malakal) and perhaps northeast Uganda, before reaching the extreme southern summer breeding areas of Sudan (South Kordofan, West Kordofan, East Darfur, South Darfur, White Nile, Blue Nile). From there, some swarms may continue to North Kordofan, North Darfur, and perhaps West Darfur. Other swarms may appear in states adjacent to Ethiopia (Sennar, Al Qadarif, Kassala).

If swarms reach Sudan and find dry conditions, then they are likely to migrate to eastern Chad and continue westwards across the Sahel of West Africa. This threat should decline progressively during the next four weeks as the summer rains commence in Sudan.

In Yemen, highly mobile swarms are moving in the interior, coastal and highland areas, including Sanaa. Some of these swarms could migrate to northern Somalia and northeast Ethiopia.

In Oman, at least one swarm continued to be reported in the Dhofar Hills of the south.

Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Sudan should remain on high alert during the next four weeks. West Africa should continue to take anticipatory measures.
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2020, 02:36:02 AM »
Locusts Are A Plague Of Biblical Scope In 2020. Why? And ... What Are They Exactly?
June 14, 2020


A swarm of desert locusts flies above trees in a Kenyan village. Hundreds of millions of the insects have arrived in Kenya, where they're destroying farmland.


Titanic swarms of desert locusts resembling dark storm clouds are descending ravenously on the Horn of Africa. They're roving through croplands and flattening farms in a devastating salvo experts are calling an unprecedented threat to food security. On the ground, subsistence planters can do nothing but watch — staring up with horror and at their fields in dismay.

Locusts have been around since at least the time of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, 32 B.C., despoiling some of the world's weakest regions, multiplying to billions and then vanishing, in irregular booms and busts.

If the 2020 version of these marauders stay steady on their warpath, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization says desert locusts can pose a threat to the livelihoods of 10 percent of the world's population.

The peril may already be underway: Early June projections by the FAO are forecasting a second generation of spring-bred locusts in Eastern Africa, giving rise to new, powerful swarms of locust babies capable of wreaking havoc until mid-July or beyond.

Here are five things you need to know about locusts to understand the current crisis — and why the tiny invaders are such a big deal.

Continue reading...
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2020, 06:09:47 PM »
Locust Swarm - A Race Between Mankind And Insects

Locust swarm has grown due to various reasons but it has moved forward for one and only reason that is food. There may be various ways to curb this menace but a long term policy is must. BW Businessworld investigate historical development and talk to people who are subject experts.

Prabodh Krishna, 15 June 2020

Rambadan, a farmer from Meja town in Prayagraj says that he had witnessed the locust swarm in 1990’s when he was a young child as he has witnessed it once again. It’s a living creature and it need nutrition, suggest agronomy experts. A good vegetation and a better crop yield never made us think that this regular locust swarm can become serious, they added.
 
It has been estimated that in India damage to crops caused by locusts was about Rs 10 crore during 1926–31 plague cycle. During 1940–46 and 1949–55 locust plague cycles, the damage was estimated at Rs 2 crore each and it was Rs. 50.00 lakh during the last locust plague cycle (1959–62). Although no locust plague cycles have been observed after 1962, however, during 1978 and 1993, large scale upsurges were reported.
 
An expert of the subject Vijay Sardana says, “ Nature plays a big role to it but we should have an eye on it during latest development" ! His remarks have potential indication to the episodes on locusts swarm that can eat as much food as 10 elephants or 2500 humans can eat. Locust warning organization (LWO) is working for India since early 20th century. World Bank group expert say that 2018 cyclone in Arabian peninsula had triggered growth of these locusts.

But it's also evident that like us, locusts are also nature's creation and they need vegetation to survive. The Indira Gandhi Canal reached to drylands of Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Churu etc in 90s and 1993 was the year when episode of locusts swarm occurred it's a perfect example. An FCI loader in prayagraj says ' Locusts never came to our godowns, they march towards west and they returned soon'. South West Uttar Pradesh districts are not well known for horticulture and grain production either. Sandeep Malhotra MD of IFFCO Kisan has his own view to curb the impact. Considering the widespread amount of menace created by the locust it would be advised to take both physical as well as chemical precautions to deal with them in an effective way. In order to take physical measures, one should dig trenches where they can either drop the locusts or beat the hoppers along the branches' says Malhotra. More innovative ideas are required but do they last to curb a biological condition like locusts?

A priest in trance-Yamuna river temple of Prayagraj gives example of Mahabharata the Hindu text where Karna threatens prince Arjuna that if "My bow will shoot arrow it won't end like locusts swarm" you better know how to stop it before it starts! If we are to believe the fact that greenery has given them chance to survive it's not baseless because India is about to witness another bountiful of crop for this Rabi season. Kharif harvest is also going to break new records. Earlier these locusts had destroyed crops of millet and Moong daal in Rajasthan. But they are part of new Agriculture practice in lands that were dry-lands earlier.

Malhotra adds, "Given the robust attack of locusts on the crops, chemical methods come handy in dealing with the locust menace. Chemicals like lambdacyhalothrin, malathion, chlorpyriphos, deltamethrin and diflubenjuros prove to be very effective and can be suggested on the basis of the farmer’s reviews."

Sardana on the other hand calls for innovative ideas to curb this menace. He says that cultivation in drylands is our need but it will naturally give locusts more chances. This is a bio hazzard and we need to deal in the same way. For instance we can use multiple layer of trees on Indo-Pak border. Such trees should be attractive to locusts and as soon as locust form swarm, a wide array of chemical spray should be used to eliminate them then and there. CD Mayee former Vice President of National Academy of Agriculture Science also believe that listed chemical should be used to eliminate the locust swarm. However supervision from experts are required to practice it, says Mayee.

Lockdown had almost stopped the agriculture practice and due to labour shortage farmers were not able to eliminate locusts swarm. Otherwise government observe this situation and takes necessary step, therefore lockdown can't be ruled out as a big reason behind forward movement of locusts. Sardana says , "If wind pattern can be considered as reason for their movement I will ask to be little practical, the locust swarm will move in the direction where they will get food".

Amid race between survival instinct of both mankind and insects , humans need to act smart. Otherwise Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana parts of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh had already faced wrath of this natural race between insects and humans where crops of more than 3.5 lakh hectares of farmland has already been destroyed and the locust swarm is still breeding within 12 week of its lifecycle. More than 100 crore rupees had been lost due to locusts swarm in 2019-20 crop season and long term planing is a must for India's growing food need.
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2020, 06:29:45 PM »
How Do You Fight the Locusts?

Science, Thewire, 14/06/2020

Desert locusts have affected about 60 countries, including India and Pakistan. They are swarming short-horned grasshoppers, each two inches long with short, thick antennas. Grasshoppers don’t live in groups and keep chewing plants as lonely insects. But in some circumstances, they coalesce into large groups and migrate together in search of food. This process of gregariousness also induces changes in appearance, turning them from green to a shade of yellow-brown and strengthens their muscles. The Russian entomologist Boris Uvarov first noted these changes and came up with the theory that linked two different phases of the same insect – the grasshopper – with that of locusts.

Desert locusts can fly over 130 km a day and stay in the air for a long time. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), locusts have been known to cross the Red Sea, a distance of 300 km. One particular swarm reportedly flew over 5,000 km, from West Africa to the Caribbean, in 10 days in 1988. One squared kilometre swarm of 40 million locusts can eat as much as 35,000 people can in a day. And as the plague of locusts consumes crops in the field as well as in silos, they leave great agricultural distress and famine in their wake.

Experience has shown that locust plagues follow a one- to two-year cycle, after which there is a lull for eight to nine years. India experienced serious locust outbreaks in 1812, 1821, 1843-1844, 1863-1867, 1869-1873, 1876-1881, 1889-1898, 1900-1907 and 1912-1920. The last big infestation was in 2010. There were 13 locust plagues between 1964 and 1997. From 1997 to 2010, five outbreaks were controlled. Since April 11 this years, locusts have swarmed several districts of Rajasthan via Pakistan’s Sindh province. From Rajasthan, they migrated into Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra to feed on green crops.

Experts have suggested that the cyclones in 2018 and 2019 that struck eastern parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula could have triggered the ongoing locust outbreak. These swarms were later also facilitated by prolonged rainfall in the desert, as a consequence of a climatic phenomenon called the Indian Ocean dipole. The FAO has already warned that India may face another locust attack in July this year.

We know today that locust outbreaks follow years of plentiful rain that bring greenery to deserts, and that they remain dormant in the hotter years. One study from China showed that monsoon rains have increased in the Indo-Pakistan deserts by 30% over the last two decades, elevating soil moisture and encouraging crop growth. It is widely acknowledged that deforestation is followed by a reduction in rainfall, implying that greening deserts result in increased rain.

To destroy locusts, the first and most important activity is to locate and destroy the locusts’ eggs in an organised manner by ploughing, harrowing and digging. Also digging 2′ x 2′ trenches around egg-laid areas will help entrap the nymphs, which are the flightless young of the locusts. As they move out after hatching, they are buried or killed with chemical sprays.

The FAO has recommended the use of a fungus called Metarhizium anisopliae, which kills locusts by growing inside their bodies. It is cheaper than other methods, more effective, longer-lasting in the deserts, easier to store and is recommended for use before the nymphs begin to fly. The main challenge is to find bands of young locusts and hitting them with enough biopesticides. The locusts need to be exposed for several days longer than with chemical pesticides to effectively be killed. Ecotoxicological studies have shown that the fungus poses low risk to other organisms, including insects. Biological control is the better option, but in an emergency – like now – established pesticides are the obvious choice.

When flying locusts are about to descend in large swarms in cultivated areas, the best way to tackle them is to prevent them alighting by all possible methods. To repel locust swarms, fire and a cloud of smoke are created by burning refuse in many places. As Rob Malkin of the University of Bristol has reported, the ears of locusts have a highly integrated and miniaturised hearing system that distinguishes low-frequency sound from other locusts and high-frequency sound from foes such as bats, for their survival. Acoustic devices that produce high-frequency sound have been successfully used in different parts of India to deter large swarms of desert locusts.

For generations, tribes in Africa, Australia and south-east Asia traditionally practised body-painting with clay, chalk, ash and cattle dung. Scientists from Hungary’s Eötvös Lorand University now believe those body paintings could have deterred blood-sucking horseflies and other pests that are dangerous, irritating and transmit deadly diseases. Similar protection of farms, orchards and standing crops were reported by Chinthala Venkat Reddy (a recipient of the Padma Shri), who has a patent for the mud-spray technology. While many parts of India face a plague of locusts, several have farmers observed that locusts avoided farms sprayed with mud or neem kernel suspension. Locusts breathe through their scaly skin, so they can’t digest the clay if the subsoil is mixed with water and sprayed on crops.

Lu Lizhi, a researcher at the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Agricultural Technology, announced 20 years ago that ducks could be an effective way to control locust infestations. Each duck can eat as many as 200 locusts per day. In 2000, a 700,000-strong army of ducks and chickens were sent to Xinjiang to tame a swarm of locusts that had devoured over 3.8 million hectares of crops and grassland. At that time, researchers found the ducks were more efficient than chickens at gorging the pests. In 2020, China had sent a 100, 000 duck ‘troops’ to Pakistan, which shares a border with Xinjiang province, to check locust swarms.

Early locust attacks this season, due to a chain of climate events, administrative laxity in several countries and the difficult circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused huge economic losses to already debt-burdened farmers. Tackling large locust swarms is challenging and requires fast-acting pesticides sprayed from aircraft or drones. A drone can spray pesticide on nearly 2.5-acres during a flight of 15 minutes. Organophosphates, carbamate and pyrethroids are types of extremely toxic insecticides commonly used against locusts during an emergency. The harmful effects of pesticides on humans, livestock and the brought on by excessive use of chemical pesticides should not be overlooked.

A team of researchers based at three universities in the UK and Australia had discovered over a decade ago that the change from solitary to gregarious starts when serotonin levels increase. When the team injected locusts with drugs that blocked serotonin’s action or a compound that inhibited their serotonin production, they didn’t become gregarious. But when the solitary locusts were treated with serotonin or gave them a drug that boosted their production, they became gregarious. This showed that the chemical is both necessary and sufficient to commence the transformation, according to neuroscientist R. Meldrum Robertson of Queen’s University, Canada, who studies locust flight.

In future, controlling locusts through drugs targeting the serotonin pathway might provide an alternative to chemical pesticides. What we need is changing the orientation of modern sciences towards the global from the local.

K. Usha is the principal scientist at ICAR-IARI, New Delhi.
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2020, 06:49:03 PM »
What locust attack? Great Indian Bustards make a meal of pests, reproduce more
However, the population could drop again after the locust invasion gets over, experts say 

By Ishan Kukreti
Monday 15 June 2020


Locusts are very rich in protein and are being eaten by fauna in western Rajasthan since the locust invasion of May 2019. Photo: Radheshyam Pemani Bishnoi/ERDS Foundation

The locust invasion, while proving to be a disaster for farmers across Rajasthan, has become a literal movable feast for the local biodiversity, including the endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB) in the state.

Locusts, that are very rich in protein, are being eaten by the local fauna, helping them increase their reproduction rate.

The pests are considered such an important source of nutrition that even captive GIBs under Wildlife Institute of India’s (WII), Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard - An Integrated Approach project are being fed locusts.

“Locust is a very important food for GIB. Due to the high nutritional status of locusts, the fecundity of the bird has become high,” YV Jhala, dean of WII and head of the GIB conservation project, said.

 “Usually, there are four-five eggs laid every year, but last year we found 15 eggs,” he added.

The locusts are fed to the GIB both for their nutritional and recreational value as the birds like to chase the insects around.

Jhala added that last year, his team also found evidence of re-nesting after the egg was removed. “Re-nesting is directly linked to improved nutritional intake,” he said.

GIB isn’t the only species that is benefiting from the locust invasion. Locusts are also eaten by moneys, lizards, foxes, desert cats, jackals and wolves.

“Whenever there is a pest invasion like the current locust invasion, it is associated with an increase in the population of species. This has also been seen with cricket upsurges and increases in fox populations earlier,” Jhala said.

The increased reproduction rates last for one-two years as the animals make the most of this additional nutrition that becomes suddenly available and reproduce more.

Protein is an important growth nutrient which the animals feed their young.

“We have seen that even bird species that are aren’t carnivorous, feed their chicks insects, because it helps the chicks grow,” Sumit Dookia, wildlife biologist and assistant professor at New Delhi’s Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, said.

Dookia is also the honorary scientific advisor at the Ecology, Rural Development & Sustainability (ERDS) Foundation, a Jaisalmer based non-profit helping local communities with in-situ conservation of GIB. 

However, Jhala said the boom in local biodiversity usually crashes after a year or two of the invasion.

“The locusts eat everything and leave the habitat devoid of any vegetation once they leave. This leads to a drop in the reproduction rates and the population again,” he said.

Moreover, the chemicals sprayed to control the locust can have a negative impact on the GIB and local biodiversity.

“The spraying can be dangerous as the GIB could feed on locusts that have died from chemicals,” Sutirtha Dutta, a faculty at WII and a member of the GIB project, said.

“The forest department in the GIB areas have been cautious and last year, they removed dead locusts from these areas. So, precautions are being taken to prevent the GIB from feeding on dead locusts,” Dutta added.   

Rajasthan is witnessing the worst locust invasion since 1993. Since May last year, when the invasion started, an area of around 5,94,808 hectares (ha) has been affected by the insects.

So far, of the 33 districts of Rajasthan, 24 have been affected, according to Suwa Lal Jat, joint director, Plant Protection division of the Rajasthan Agriculture Department.

“These are eye estimates, the actual estimation is underway by the revenue department,” he said.

The pests have mostly destroyed cotton crops in Sri Ganganagar (4,500 ha), Hanumangarh (9,000 ha), Nagaur (70 ha) and Bikaner (830 ha) districts. On an average, every hectare of land produces around 20 quintals of cotton, that is sold for around Rs 6,000-Rs 7,000 per quintal.
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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2020, 12:06:58 PM »
Now it is the Western Hemisphere's turn:

'Astonishing' huge swarm of locusts sweeps through farmland and ruins crops
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/astonishing-huge-swarm-locusts-sweeps-22220756
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They affected farms across Lanteri in Argentina and then headed for the large city of Santa Fe. Authorities say they headed across Argentina from neighbouring Paraguay.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2020, 03:58:36 AM »
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2020, 01:28:14 AM »
Italy locust invasion: Europe panic as worst swarm for 70 years hits continent

MILLIONS of locusts have caused devastation after descending on Sardinia, with several mayors in the region declaring a state of natural disaster and calling for immediate action.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1311822/italy-news-locust-invasion-crops-stripped-biblical-plague-sardinia-coronavirus-europe
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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2020, 12:26:48 PM »
Locust Swarms Invade Southern Russia, Cause Colossal Damage
https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/2020/august/locust-swarms-invade-southern-russia-cause-colossal-damage
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Locust swarms have invaded Russia's southern regions causing colossal damage to the local agriculture.

According to regional authorities, the damage is estimated at over 13 million US dollars. 

A state of emergency has been declared in seven parts of the republic of Kalmykia, according to the Emergency Ministry.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 12:36:55 PM by Tom_Mazanec »
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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2020, 12:54:35 PM »
These locusts seem to be unstoppable. And I believe they bury their eggs in desert regions, so this could last for many many years to come.

Locust swarms could be heading for one of the most vulnerable regions on earth, warns UN
The destructive pests are now heading to the Sahel, where hunger is widespread
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/locust-swarms-could-heading-one-vulnerable-regions-earth-warns/

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2021, 02:23:06 PM »
Looks like you were right, Freegrass (we may have to change the title of this thread Locust Swarm 2020s)

Biblical plague or manageable threat? Beating back swarms with Kenya’s locust hunters
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/biblical-plague-manageable-threat-beating-back-swarms-kenyas/
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Swarms of the pests, driven by climate change, are wreaking havoc on the food supply of a region regularly facing acute bouts of hunger

Threat of a New Plague of Locusts in Kenya
https://reliefweb.int/report/kenya/threat-new-plague-locusts-kenya
Quote
The plague of locusts in the Horn of Africa is on the rise again, as a new generation of pests is breeding and hatching. In countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, the next harvest is under threat. This means that families that have been impoverished and weakened by years of crises are sinking even further into a downward spiral of hunger and poverty.

Desert locust invasion in northern Kenya could spiral out of control
https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/news/east-africa/desert-locust-invasion-kenya-3296074
Quote
The swarms of locusts now threaten the livelihoods of millions of people in Kenya as the conflicts in Yemen, Somalia and northern Ethiopia make it difficult for FAO to control the breeding and movement of the pests at the source.
FAO attributes the upsurge of locusts to favourable breeding grounds in these countries.

Kenya's farmers face threat of new locust swarms
https://www.dw.com/en/kenyas-farmers-face-threat-of-new-locust-swarms/a-56599904
Quote
While Kenya is having some success fighting desert locust swarms, farmers in the north and center of the country face huge losses from ongoing waves of locust swarms.

Nobel UN food agency warns 2021 will be worse than 2020
https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nobel-agency-warns-2021-worse-2020-74210831
Quote
The head of the World Food Program says the Nobel Peace Prize has given the U.N. agency a spotlight and megaphone to warn world leaders that next year is going to be worse than this year
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Freegrass

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Re: Locust Swarm 2020
« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2021, 02:15:03 AM »
When was I ever wrong Tom?  ::)

I was just about to post this article where they said the locust swarms are on a decline. It'll be interesting to see what'll happen later on in the year. But I don't think it'll be over anytime soon. I think it'll probably be other regions that'll be hit next.

To be continued...

Desert locust swarms declining in Kenya and Ethiopia
https://africa.cgtn.com/2021/03/17/desert-locust-swarms-declining-in-kenya-and-ethiopia/

Desert locust swarms continue to decline in Kenya and Ethiopia thanks to ongoing control operations and no breeding, according to a report by Locust watch.

And so we pray...

When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again...