When Rain Isn't a Good Thing: Desert Locust Devastation

Category : Environmental, Agriculture, Biology
Jul. 22, 2021 at 8:49 p.m. MDT


Locusts. For those born in the 1990s, one of the first images that come to memory is the evil Hopper, a scarred grasshopper, ruthless and violent, and arch-nemesis of the curious and inventing ant Flik in Bug’s life. In the Disney Pixar cartoon, Hopper and his gang devastate crops, destroying any food source available and terrorizing other creatures living in their same area. A plague that for countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea has become a living nightmare. 2020, the year of the pandemic, but also the year of one of the worst devastations caused by desert locust. Locust swarm clouds can quickly descend and cover a surface area three times the size of New York City. Feasting on anything green, within a few hours, any vegetation that crosses its path is gone. As reported by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations), this Biblical plague has created a food crisis for more than 20 million people, at risk of serious starvation.

In this episode, Dr. Keith Cressman, FAO locust forecasting expert discusses with us how this migratory pest has become a more frequent threat, the role that water plays in increasing or decreasing its likelihood, and how climate change is linked directly to this crisis.

Want to learn more about Desert Locusts and the state of the their spread in the world? Check out Locust Watch where you can find updates and predictions on desert locusts movements across the world and is managed by Dr. Keith Cressman!

For more information on Desert Locust and their biology, movement and how we can control them click here!