Locusts swarm attack (2020) means locust is a kind of an insect that eats crops, which farmers grow for humans. Locust swarms destroy crops and cause major agricultural damage, which can lead to famine and starvation.
- Several states in India are under attack from locust swarms
- Locusts attack all sorts of vegetations, including farms, wiping everything out in their wake
- There is evidence of bible revelations of locusts and epidemics. The passage being shared online reads:
“Whenever I hold back the rain or send locusts to eat up the crops or send an epidemic on my people if they pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again.”
As predicted by the United Nations, India is witnessing armies of locusts swarming across the country – the worst such attack in 26 years.
But the locust problem is not just the concern of farmers, here’s why you should be worried too
So What is Locust? Why is it dangerous? What is ‘locusts swarm attack 2020’? What are the effects India will face?
Such 5 cards are explained which gives a picture of the situation.
What are Locusts?
Locusts are a collection of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers. These insects are usually solitary (individual), but under certain circumstances become more abundant and change their behavior and habits, becoming gregarious (an individual’s making groups and roaming in abundance).
Why are they Dangerous?
Usually harmless to humans. However, certain environmental conditions like monsoon make them reproduce to the faster speed- almost 10 folds in three months forming a swarm. A female single locust can lay up to 500 eggs. We need to tackle not just the swarm but also their breeding…that’s ‘locusts swarm attack 2020’
A large swarm can consist of billions of locusts spread out over an area of thousands of square kilometers, with a population of up to 80 million per square kilometer (200 million per square mile). As their population increase in millions, their food consumption, behavior starts changing and hence destroys agriculture to the worst.
An adult locust can consume almost 2 grams of vegetation. Even this seems a tiny number, we are forgetting they roam in millions. So if we compare and calculate locusts in a swarm can consume almost 35 thousand people’s food in one go.
What is Happening in India Right Now?
Experts have warned that if the swarms are not controlled soon enough, they can destroy the standing Moong cereal crop worth around Rs 8,000 crore.
India has not seen locust swarms on this scale since 1993. The insects have caused enormous damage to the seasonal crops in both the states, devastating many farmers already struggling with the impact of a strict coronavirus lockdown.
On 25th May, Locust entered India states like Rajasthan (Jaipur), Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat. The locust has already destroyed vegetation in Jaipur and 18 more districts in Rajasthan. Almost a dozen more districts of Madhya Pradesh are destroyed.
At present, chances of crop damage are low given that farmers have already harvested their rabi crop. Orange growers in Maharashtra have expressed concern but as Gurjar said, the swarm in Maharashtra would be easy to control. But in the coming months, several state’s Kharif crops (E.g. Rice, Jowar, Sugarcane, Orange, etc) is at risk.
The bigger problem will come once the present swarms breed. An adult female locust lays 80-90 eggs thrice in her three-month life cycle. If left uncontrolled, a swarm can grow exponentially to 40-80 million locusts per square kilometer, Gurjar, and others estimate. The locusts will start laying eggs after the monsoon starts and continue breeding for two more months, with newer generations rising during the growth phase of the Kharif crop.
How is India responding to the locust attack?
At present, the primary method of controlling desert swarm is by spraying concentrated pesticides and insecticides, doses of chemicals, by vehicles, and aerial modes like drones and planes.
Locust is locals at Rajasthan and Gujarat borders. The problem this time is that they have arrived earlier than predicted and hence their breeding time increases in India. They migrated from dessert as they didn’t get enough food there. Also, people are experiencing that locust has changed their attacking strategy as they are flying from heights this time whereas usually, they roam low lying areas.
Which other Countries are Affected by locust?
Plagued by an economic slowdown and Covid-19 lockdown, the Indian economy is already on the edge. Locust attacks on farms will also plunge India into fresh economic trouble. The United Nation’s food and agriculture organization (FAO) has warned India of an impending locust invasion. As per the FAO, the locust infestation is likely to get severe by next month. The desert locust invasion is expected to move from East Africa to India and Pakistan next month and could be accompanied by other swarms.
Locusts Swarm Attack 2020: