Locust (Schistocera gregaria)
During this time of corona virus pandemic another plague has come to destroy the food of whole world.
The word Locust is in trending these days. The reason is it has evolved as new pandemic in agriculture.
Locust is destroying crop at very very rapid pace and many farmers are facing huge loss to their crops which were ready to harvest.
In this blog we are going to discuss everything about Locust in detail.
Locusts are large tropical grasshoppers with strong powers of flight.
Locusts are the species of grasshopper bu they are short horned. Generally, grasshopper live alone but these locusts travels forming huge swarms.
When locusts takes birth, they don’t have wings. They travel from one place to another by their feet in search of vegetation. These wingless locusts also forms large groups called bands.
The baby locusts fully matures within (1-3) months of its birth and they can live up to (4-5) months. After they gets their wings, they fly from one place to another and feeds on everything on their way. The adult locusts are named as hoppers.
Locusts reproduce rapidly under favourable climate and can increase their population to 20 fold within 3 months.
The colour of locust gradually change from green to grey to pink and finally yellow. When its colour becomes yellow, it is very difficult to control it.
Species Of Locusts
There are 4 species of Locusts which are destroying the crops of south asia which are:-
Among these species desert locusts is very different to kill and the plague that is created in present situation is due to desert locust.
These adult locus forms large groups. These large groups again merge and forms swarms. A big swarms contains (40-60)millions of locusts that destroy almost everything.
They fly very fast. They can travel the distance of 150 km in a day. During night time, they takes rest in bushy area.
They travels in the direction of wind, this way its saves their energy and they can travels long distance.
Locusts feeds almost on all types of vegetation. They are destroying the crops. They can finish whole filed in minutes cause they are millions in number.
They feed almost on every vegetation they get on their way. They feeds on cereals, fruits, vegetables, cottons and many other crops.
According to FAO, one locusts feed crops equal to their body weight i.e.2gm.
2 gram doesn’t seem more but millions of locusts are enough to destroy the crops.
1 ton locusts can feed vegetation equal to 10 elephants or 25 camels or 2500 mens. That means they are heavy feeders.
Due to swarms, their weight becomes very very heavy. When the swarms feeds on a tree. The whole tree may fall down due to their weight.
They feed on leaves, flowers, fruits and even stem of the trees and crops.
They can clean up the crops of many acres in just one hour.
Origin of locust
Locusts are found to be originated from African countries like sudan, somalia, kenya and they have cause mass food shortage in those countries.
|Locust problem in Africa|
Due to this locusts pandemic, there is no food security and many people are starved. Many children are facing malnutrition in those countries.
This swarms of locusts have travelled from africa to gulf and to pakistan. In present context it is in india and Nepal.
UN has warned india and pakistan to work to control locust plague.
|Locust plague in India and Pakistan|
Many places of india like UP has got affected by locusts. They are destroying the green crops, fruits, vegetables, cottons of many places.
During this pandemic period of corona virus, farmers were facing the problems of market and they weren’t able to sell their crops.
Now, these locusts pandemic has destroyed all the crops. Many farmers are in situation of
huge huge loss of their production.
After India, it may enter lower part of Nepal.
It can ause heavy loss to south asia.
Causes Of Origin
Many researchers and scientists have concluded that, they originate in such large number due to climate change.
In last 5 years, the temperature of the world has risen up regularly. High temperature is favourable for locusts.
Due to climate change, many cyclones have generated due to which heavy rainfall occurs and all these climate change have made favourable climate for their breeding and multiplication.
The eggs of locusts which were under soil for almost 20 years have give their birth. Now, millions of locusts are affecting the world food.
Problem Created In 2020
2020 has become the tuff year for whole world. The entire world is facing the problem of corona virus. The pandemic of corona virus haven’t solved yet and new plague of locusts are destroying the food.
Many farmers weren’t able sell their products due to lockdown and they haven’t harvested their crops. Now, these crops are being destroyed by locusts.
Due to corona virus pandemic, the agricultural production has decreased in geometric ratio. And now, the remaining crops are also destroyed by locusts.
This can ultimately cause global food scarcity and millions of people may die due to hunger.
There is no effective solution to the problem of locusts. We can use different techniques if they come in our crops:-
✔️Make large sound. Locusts get away from large sound. You can make large sound by using tractor, drums, speaker to get rid of locusts.
✔️Fire and smoke can control locusts to some extent.
✔️Long nets can be applied to protect crops of certain area.
✔️Bio- pesticides like Nosema and Metarhizium can be used.
These are some measures that can be applied to control locusts from individual and local level.
From National level, following measures can be applied:-
☑️Bio-pesticides(organophosphates) can be applied with the help of airplanes in large area.
☑️Different modern tecnology like drones can be effective for their control.
☑️Different packages should be given to farmers.
Chemical Pesticides For Locusts
During this time of covid-19, while world is suffering including agricultural sector, this locusts plague can destroy whole food and world may suffer from global food scarcity problem.
So, Necessary measures should be applied to crontrol locusts.
If you have any suggestions, please COMMENT your ideas below!!
ALSO READ:-Permaculture-Future of sustainable farming
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