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#294799 - 02/09/20 04:52 PM Locusts in Africa
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2450
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
Billions of desert locusts are swarming across eastern Africa—mainly affecting Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia but likely to spread further.

Desert locusts eat all the vegetation they encounter, and the finger-length insects consume an amount equal to their body weight each day. Each square kilometer of swarm can include 40 to 80 million locusts and eat as much food as 35,000 people, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In addition to destroying crops in a region where nearly 20 million people face food insecurity, swarms also consume the vegetation on cattle grazing land in a matter of hours. To manage the insects, Kenya and Ethiopia are spraying pesticides from airplanes. The countries have about five planes each, but as the locusts spread, there are more of them than the local systems can handle.

Aerial pesticide spraying is the only effective way to combat desert locust swarms, according to the FAO, which is seeking $70 million in aid to support additional efforts to contain the pests. But Somalia, which has declared the swarms an emergency, can’t deploy pesticide-spraying planes because of security concerns in the country, where some areas are controlled by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, per the AP.

The swarms are reaching such an unusual size now because of cyclones that rained on the deserts of Oman last year, the FAO’s senior locust forecasting officer Keith Cressman tells Reuters’ Nita Bhalla.

The next rainy season in eastern Africa will begin in March, which will bring a new wave of vegetation growth and locust breeding. Female locusts only lay their eggs when the ground is damp. While swarming, which is also called their “gregarious” phase, the locusts lay egg pods of about 80 eggs that usually hatch within two weeks. Factoring in hatching and survival rates, each pod leads to about 16 to 20 adult locusts, which mature in two to four months and start the cycle again.

By the time the weather dries up again in June, the FAO estimates that the current population of desert locusts could multiply by a factor of 500. The swarms have already entered Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, according to the FAO’s most recent report, and they are approaching Uganda and South Sudan. -- https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/billions-locusts-are-swarming-east-africa-180974135/

This is just one source. Others get into how they are moving, with most heading east and the rest heading west.

While I have no reason to believe that locusts can somehow cross the Atlantic Ocean, this problem will nevertheless affect the world food supply.

Jeanette Isabelle
_________________________
“Trust me, this is not gonna end well!” — Pleakley, Lilo & Stitch

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#294800 - 02/09/20 06:20 PM Re: Locusts in Africa [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7326
Loc: southern Cal
How is the aid request faring? 70 mil is about the TV ad budget of some presidential candidates and not really all that much to ask for an outbreak of this magnitude.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#294808 - 02/10/20 06:05 PM Re: Locusts in Africa [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
In a way, it is good to know there are still a few "swarming things" doing well on this planet.

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