Desert locusts in north India, the worst invasion in nearly three decades


The northern part of India is witnessing the worst form of nightmare the country has seen in nearly three decades.

Swarms of desert locusts have invaded the urban areas of Rajasthan and are reportedly spreading across Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Among the different types of locusts, desert locusts are considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world as they multiply rapidly and destroy over 150 km of cropland in a day.

So far, the locusts invasion has destroyed about 50,000 hectares of cropland, devastating many farmers who are already struggling to cope with the strict coronavirus lockdown.

Government authorities are setting out drones and using specialized spraying machines to track the locusts and control them from migrating into neighboring regions.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a single kilometer of swarm can contain 4-8 crore locusts that can cover 130-150 km in a single day, consuming food that as many as 35,000 people can eat.

The country's agricultural ministry hopes to control the invasion by the end of June, before the monsoon season, when these desert locusts mature and breed.