Farmers and government in Argentina are battling an emerging plague of locusts. Like something out of a horror movie, locusts are set to devastate vast swaths of Argentinian cropland.
Last year a major outbreak of the insects had farmers fighting a losing battle against these voracious vegetarians. A locust can eat its weight in greenery each day. The swarms can contain millions of these critters and when they settle down to eat they will strip the area bare in a few hours.
While many of us have seen grasshoppers and know the damage they can do to your flower or vegetable garden if left unchecked, locusts are far more damaging. After emerging from their eggs laid the previous summer it takes only about 10 days for them to achieve flight.
The hungry insects can fly considerable distances before settling down for another binge. In a day an average sized swarm(about 40 million insects) will consume as much as 2500 people.
The Argentinians are fighting the threat of ruined crops by engaging swarm spotters who attempt to discern where the swarm will land for the night. Then the spray equipment descends on the area and sprays pesticides on the insects, hoping to kill the majority of them.
Some of the farmers are saying too little too late. Last year saw sporadic outbreaks of swarms. Efforts to engage the government in helping eliminate the few swarms before they could lay eggs went unrewarded. There is a new president in Argentina now.
Many areas around the world are subject to sporadic outbreaks of this plague. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Sudan, Madagascar have all had outbreaks in recent years. The explosive population growth occurs after a mild, wet winter which allows the eggs of the locusts to remain viable.
A warming climate is predicted to cause many more serious insect infestations that were previously held in check by early, hard frosts. In N. America for instance, much of the northern pine forests have fallen victim to the pine beetle.Their explosive growth is partly blamed on climate warming.
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
diet. Addicted to reading. Love this planet, especially my little corner
on Vancouver Island, Canada