#164. The most destructive


An adult desert locust can eat its own weight of fresh food per day! A ton of locusts can devour a ton of fresh food in one day! This amount of food will be enough to feed 10 elephants or 25 camels or 2500 human beings.

Desert locusts threaten the agricultural production in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Livelihood of one tenth of the world’s human population is affected by these pests.These locusts have caused significant loss of food and crops and has contributed largely to the famine in West Africa.

Two factors which make desert locusts dangerous pests are: they can fly over large distances rapidly and they can reproduce equally rapidly giving rise to two to five generations per year. Desert locusts can fly with the wind and at the speed of the wind.They can cover 100 to 200 kilometers per day!

A single swarm of desert locusts can cover up to 1200 sq.kilometers. Each sq.kilometer consists of 40 to 80 million locusts. The life span of these locusts is 3 to 6 months. The ratio of increase from one generation to the next is an alarming 10 to 16 times!

It has been very difficult to control the damages caused by these desert locusts. Limited resources and the remoteness of the affected areas are two major factors which delay the monitoring and controlling activities.

Visalakshi Ramani

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