After 27 years, swarm of millions of locusts are making life difficult for Indian farmers in parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Farms are facing significant threat from these migratory pests and proper measures have to be taken, before its too late. 

But, before we tell you what can be done to chase these pests away, here are some things that you should know about one of the most dangerous pests in the world that devour everything in their path. 

1. Desert locust look like short-horned grasshoppers and they are considered to be the most devastating migratory pests in the world.

2. They typically move in swarms and each swarm can consist of an astonishing 150 million locusts per square kilometre.

3. The desert locust feeds on green vegetation, be it crops, pasture or fodder. And, according to UN’s Food and Agricultural organisation, in a day, they can destroy crops meant for over 35,000 people. 

4. Locust can survive in high temperatures where the climate remains warm most of the year. This swarm that has entered India, originated from breedings in Baluchistan, Iran and Pakistan

5. Locusts can cause acute food insecurity if proper action is not taken. According to reports, over 25 million people will face food shortage in Eastern Africa region alone, by the second half of 2020. 

6. They live for about 3-5 months and they become hoppers after a month. They start laying eggs when they are 60-70 days old. 

So, how can their spread be controlled? 

FAO monitors locust swarms on a 24-hour basis and provides forecasts and sends warning alerts. Apart from that, traditional chemicals are used to control their numbers. Nowadays, even nature-based biopesticides are available as they are less harmful.

What happens if their numbers aren’t controlled?

If we fail to control their numbers, sub adults will visit their summer breeding area, lay eggs and give rise to a new generation of desert locusts.