Major Swarms Of Insects

rynner2

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Australia faces worst plague of locusts in 75 years
Ideal breeding conditions for grasshoppersare expected to cost farmers billions
By Paul Rodgers
Sunday, 26 September 2010

Australia's Darling river is running with water again after a drought in the middle of the decade reduced it to a trickle. But the rains feeding the continent's fourth-longest river are not the undiluted good news you might expect. For the cloudbursts also create ideal conditions for an unwelcome pest – the Australian plague locust.

The warm, wet weather that prevailed last summer meant that three generations of locusts were born, each one up to 150 times larger than the previous generation. After over-wintering beneath the ground, the first generation of 2010 is already hatching. And following the wettest August in seven years, the climate is again perfect. The juveniles will spend 20 to 25 days eating and growing, shedding their exoskeletons five times before emerging as adults, when population pressure will force them to swarm.

It is impossible to say how many billions of bugs will take wing, but many experts fear this year's infestation could be the worst since records began – 75 years ago. All that one locust expert, Greg Sword, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, would say was: "South Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are all going to get hammered."

A one-kilometre wide swarm of locusts can chomp through 10 tons of crops – a third of their combined body weight – in a day. The New South Wales Farmers Association said an area the size of Spain was affected and the Government of Victoria alone forecasts A$2bn (£1.2bn) of damage.

Though locusts move slowly when the sun's up, at night they can fly high and fast, sometimes travelling hundreds of kilometres. "A farmer can go to bed at night not having seen a grasshopper all year and wake up in the morning to find his fields full of them," said Professor Sword.

All locusts are grasshoppers, but not all grasshoppers are locusts. The difference is a suite of genetic changes that kick in when population densities cross a critical threshold. In some species, they produce physical transformations – the desert locust of North Africa goes from green to black and yellow, for example – but the Australian plague locust merely reprogrammes its behaviour, from solitary to gregarious.

Swarms probably make use of the available food more efficiently as the leading edge is constantly pushing forwards into new vegetation. It may be fear more than hunger, however, that drives the locusts.

Locusts are highly cannibalistic, says Professor Sword, and any that stay still too long are likely to get nibbled. "Swarms are like lifeboats," he says, forging a gruesome metaphor. "If you're the only one in the boat, you could easily starve. But if you've got lots of company, you could be the last to survive. We call it travelling with your lunch." :shock:

Controlling the bugs involves spotter planes identifying juvenile bands that can be targets for attack by crop sprayers armed with pesticides. But eastern Australia is struggling to find enough pilots to take on all the work.

And the spraying itself comes at a cost. Apiarists have complained that their bees are in danger from pesticides and ecologists fear for the many animals that treat the locusts as a moving smorgasbord. Concerns have also been raised by bloggers and activists that some of the chemicals used could harm humans.

The best hope for phasing out the chemicals comes from research. But the goal, says Professor Sword, is control not eradication. "They were here long before humans arrived," he said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 89919.html
 

Zilch5

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Yup - isn't it brilliant - finally the drought breaks and we get this! :(
 

ramonmercado

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Its bad and could get worse. A real disaster is looming so this qualifies sd a plague.

Madagascar hit by 'severe' plague of locusts
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21955740

The locust plague is described as the worst to hit Madagascar since the 1950s

A severe plague of locusts has infested about half of Madagascar, threatening crops and raising concerns about food shortages, a UN agency says.

The UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said billions of the plant-devouring insects could cause hunger for 60% of the population.

About $22m (£14.5m) was urgently needed to fight the plague in a country where many people are poor, the FAO added.

It was the worst plague to hit the island since the 1950s, the FAO said.

FAO locust control expert Annie Monard told BBC Focus on Africa the plague posed a major threat to the Indian Ocean island.

'Generation of locusts'
"The last one was in the 1950s and it had a duration of 17 years so if nothing is done it can last for five to 10 years, depending on the conditions," she said.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Nearly 60% of the island's more than 22 million people could be threatened by a significant worsening of hunger”

Annie Monard
Locust control expert
"Currently, about half the country is infested by hoppers and flying swarms - each swarm made up of billions of plant-devouring insects," the FAO said in a statement.

"FAO estimates that about two-thirds of the island country will be affected by the locust plague by September 2013 if no action is taken."

It said it needed donors to give more than $22m in emergency funding by June so that a full-scale spraying campaign could be launched to fight the plague.

The plague threatened pasture for livestock and rice crops - the main staple in Madagascar, the FAO said.

"Nearly 60% of the island's more than 22m people could be threatened by a significant worsening of hunger in a country that already had extremely high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition," it added.

An estimated 85% of people in Madagascar, which has a population of more than 22 million, live on less than a dollar a day.

The Locust Control Centre in Madagascar had treated 30,000 hectares of farmland since last October, but a cyclone in February made the situation worse, the FAO said.

The cyclone not only damaged crops but created "optimal conditions for one more generation of locusts to breed", it added.
 

Mythopoeika

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The solution is to catch the locusts and eat them!
 

Brimir

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Mythopoeika said:
The solution is to catch the locusts and eat them!

All protein, no fat.

They're also slightly crunchy and a little bit gooey.
 

Brimir

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Father_Ted said:
Speaking from experience?

Yes. locusts are the best. Mealworms are disgusting and silkworm larvae gave me a bad stomach.
 

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East Coast About to Be Overrun by Billions of Cicadas

It has been 17 years since this brood's last appearance

Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the East Coast. The insects will arrive in such numbers that people from North Carolina to Connecticut will be outnumbered roughly 600-to-1. Maybe more.

Scientists even have a horror-movie name for the infestation: Brood II. But as ominous as that sounds, the insects are harmless. They won't hurt you or other animals. At worst, they might damage a few saplings or young shrubs. Mostly they will blanket certain pockets of the region, though lots of people won't ever see them.

"It's not like these hordes of cicadas suck blood or zombify people," says May Berenbaum, a University of Illinois entomologist.

They're looking for just one thing: sex. And they've been waiting quite a long time.

Since 1996, this group of 1-inch bugs, in wingless nymph form, has been a few feet underground, sucking on tree roots and biding their time. They will emerge only when the ground temperature reaches precisely 64 degrees. After a few weeks up in the trees, they will die and their offspring will go underground, not to return until 2030.

"It's just an amazing accomplishment," Berenbaum says. "How can anyone not be impressed?"

And they will make a big racket, too. The noise all the male cicadas make when they sing for sex can drown out your own thoughts, and maybe even rival a rock concert. In 2004, Gene Kritsky, an entomologist at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, measured cicadas at 94 decibels, saying it was so loud "you don't hear planes flying overhead."

There are ordinary cicadas that come out every year around the world, but these are different. They're called magicicadas — as in magic — and are red-eyed. And these magicicadas are seen only in the eastern half of the United States, nowhere else in the world.

Full Story
 

Mythopoeika

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sherbetbizarre said:
"It's not like these hordes of cicadas suck blood or zombify people," says May Berenbaum, a University of Illinois entomologist.

Give it time. :twisted:
 

ramonmercado

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Biblical scenes: Billions of locusts descend onto Madagascar capital (PHOTOS)

Africa, Agriculture, Health, Natural disasters, Thrills&Spills
Madagascar has been taken over by uncountable numbers of locusts. This year, the leaf munchers' invasion has not only brought fears of food shortages - the country's capital city residents are also at risk, as some catch the toxic insects for food.

locust-5.jpg


The sky over the Madagascar capital Antananarivo has turned dark - an endless stream of locusts has brought biblical scenes.
A swarm of locusts invades the center of Madagascar capital Antananarivo on August 28, 2014 (AFP Photo / Rijasolo)

The country is suffering from a locust plague for the third year running, as billions of insects are on their annual migration route. ...


http://rt.com/news/184304-locust-madaga ... arms-food/
 
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EnolaGaia

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The Swarm: Billions of skeeter lookalikes plague New Orleans

Billions of mosquito lookalikes are showing up in the New Orleans area, blanketing car windshields, littering the ground with bodies and even scaring some folks.

They’re aquatic midges, often called “blind mosquitoes.” They don’t bite and they’re good for the environment, but they sure can be a nuisance.

“They tend to emerge in the billions, with a b, generally. It’s all at once and doesn’t last too long. But in that time frame it’s living hell,” said Nick DeLisi, entomologist for the St. Tammany Mosquito Abatement District on the north shore of the huge tidal basin called Lake Pontchartrain.

The swarms smell like aquarium fish food -- some compare it to rotting fish. It can be worse inside buildings where the critters creep through cracks and die in droves.

These midges lay their eggs in fresh water, and they like it polluted . Normally, Lake Pontchartrain is brackish — but since May 10, it’s been receiving Mississippi River water diverted to ease the strain on New Orleans’ levees. The water is rich with fertilizer and other pollutants, flushed out from farms and cities across the middle of North America. ...

Midge swarms also are showing up along the lake’s south shore, in New Orleans and suburban Jefferson Parish, and along the 24-mile-long (38.6-km) twin bridges connecting north and south shores. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.apnews.com/ca3c8ab0f1f74bb49993b804fbd8136a
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's another swarm story from about a week ago ...
Italian island covered in millions of locusts

Farmers on an Italian island shared video of a massive swarm of millions of locusts that have descended on the area.

Coldiretti, Italy's farming association, said the grasshoppers are causing damage to crops and posing a danger to livestock near the city of Nuoro in Sardinia.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said the cause of the swarm is unclear.

Cordiretti officials theorized an unusually cool May could be to blame for the influx of insects. They said the sudden warming of temperatures this month may have caused eggs laid in the autumn to hatch all at once. ...

SOURCE: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2019/06/11/Italian-island-covered-in-millions-of-locusts/7281560269034/
 

EnolaGaia

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Wetter than average regional conditions have caused a massive migration of grasshoppers in the Arizona / Nevada area. Millions of the (thankfully benign) grasshoppers are currently swarming around Las Vegas, where they're apparently attracted by bright white and UV lights.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/26/us/grasshoppers-invade-las-vegas-scn-trnd/index.html

Edit to Add:
'Living Snow' of Grasshoppers Blankets Las Vegas, Visible on Radar

Here are five words you definitely don't want to hear: "It's not snowing. It's grasshoppers."

But over the past few days, that's been the nightmarish scene in Las Vegas. The city's bustling, casino-lined Strip is even busier than usual, literally swarming with grasshoppers that blanketed sidewalks and seethed around lights.

The pallid-winged grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallidipennis) is a common desert species in southwestern parts of the United States. And after a rainy winter and spring that provided the insects with a feast of rich vegetation, multitudes of grasshoppers that originated in southern Nevada are on the move and migrating north. ...
FULL STORY (WITH PHOTO): https://www.livescience.com/66053-grasshoppers-swarm-las-vegas.html
 
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EnolaGaia

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More insect swarms large enough to show up on radar ...
Dragonfly swarms show up on weather radar over three states

The National Weather Service shared radar images showing massive swarms of migrating dragonflies over three states.

The NWS' Cleveland Office tweeted radar images showing the insects creating storm cloud-like shapes over Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Norman Johnson, a professor of entomology at Ohio State University, said the dragonflies are likely green darners on their way south for the fall. He said large swarms of the insects are unusual, but can occur when local weather causes them to cluster.

"The big swarms have been recorded a lot over the years, but they're not regular," he told CNN.

SOURCE (With Embedded Video):
https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2019/0...r-radar-over-three-states/1311568316918/?sl=3

Other recent insect swarms large enough to be visible on weather radar:

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2019/0...s-in-Ohio/8821561736742/?st_rec=1311568316918

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2019/0...-on-radar/9861559859144/?st_rec=1311568316918
 

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Fighting locusts with machine guns!

Farmers in southern Somalia are shooting at huge swarms of locusts with heavy machine guns in a desperate attempt to save their crops, according to media affiliated to the jihadist group Al-Shabaab.

According to the group’s media, insects that have infested farmland around the southwestern town of Tiyeglow, an Al-Shabaab stronghold, are being shot at with a PKM rifle — a machine gun version of the Russian Kalashnikov. The news comes as the country experiences its largest locust infestation for 25 years. Since July, swarms of Desert Locusts from nearby Yemen have invaded vast swathes of the Horn of Africa.

A typical swarm can contain up to 150 million insects per square kilometre. Each locust can grow up to 4.3 inches long and travel up to 95 miles a day depending on the wind. Every day, an average swarm can consume the equivalent of a year's worth of food for 2,500 people. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the locusts have already destroyed 70,000 hectares (175,000 acres) of farmland in Somalia and neighbouring Ethiopia.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...locusts-machine-guns-somalia-battles-biggest/
 

ramonmercado

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Things are bad in Kenya.

The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say.

Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame. The locust swarms hang like shimmering dark clouds on the horizon in some places. Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to wade through them.

An “extremely dangerous increase” in locust swarm activity has been reported by officials in Kenya this week.​

One swarm measured 37 miles long by 25 miles wide in the north-east of the country, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in a statement.

“A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre,” it said. “Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day. An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people.”

https://www.irishexaminer.com/break...rious-locust-outbreak-in-25-years-976035.html
 

Tribble

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Things are bad in Kenya.

The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say.

Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame. The locust swarms hang like shimmering dark clouds on the horizon in some places. Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to wade through them.

An “extremely dangerous increase” in locust swarm activity has been reported by officials in Kenya this week.​

One swarm measured 37 miles long by 25 miles wide in the north-east of the country, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in a statement.

“A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre,” it said. “Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day. An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people.”

https://www.irishexaminer.com/break...rious-locust-outbreak-in-25-years-976035.html

Another estimate is even worse -
"Even a small swarm of the insects can consume enough food for 35,000 people in a single day, said Jens Laerke of the U.N. humanitarian office in Geneva"

Wonder if the locals have access to freezers and big butterfly nets? I understand locusts are quite edible. Won't compensate for a devastated crop but it'll help a little.
 

gordonrutter

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Another estimate is even worse -
"Even a small swarm of the insects can consume enough food for 35,000 people in a single day, said Jens Laerke of the U.N. humanitarian office in Geneva"

Wonder if the locals have access to freezers and big butterfly nets? I understand locusts are quite edible. Won't compensate for a devastated crop but it'll help a little.
They are edible yes. Taste like shit and the legs get caught between your teeth but they are a source of protein.
 

ramonmercado

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Things worsen in Somalia.

Somalia has declared a national emergency as large swarms of locusts spread across east Africa.

The country's Ministry of Agriculture said the insects, which consume large amounts of vegetation, posed "a major threat to Somalia's fragile food security situation". There are fears that the situation may not be brought under control before the harvest begins in April. The UN says the swarms are the largest in Somalia and Ethiopia in 25 years.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Kenya has not seen a locust threat as severe in 70 years, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). However, Somalia is the first country in the region to declare an emergency over the infestation. Somalia's unstable security situation means that planes cannot be used to spray insecticide from the air.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-51348517
 

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China isn't ducking the challenge, it is sending in quack squads to put the locusts down.

China is preparing to deploy 100,000 ducks to neighbouring Pakistan to help tackle swarms of crop-eating locusts.

Chinese agricultural experts say a single duck can eat more than 200 locusts a day and be more effective than pesticides. Pakistan declared an emergency earlier this month saying locust numbers were the worst in more than two decades. Millions of the insects have also been devastating crops in parts of East Africa. The Chinese government announced this week it was sending a team of experts to Pakistan to develop "targeted programmes" against the locusts.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51658145
 

blessmycottonsocks

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China isn't ducking the challenge, it is sending in quack squads to put the locusts down.

China is preparing to deploy 100,000 ducks to neighbouring Pakistan to help tackle swarms of crop-eating locusts.

Chinese agricultural experts say a single duck can eat more than 200 locusts a day and be more effective than pesticides. Pakistan declared an emergency earlier this month saying locust numbers were the worst in more than two decades. Millions of the insects have also been devastating crops in parts of East Africa. The Chinese government announced this week it was sending a team of experts to Pakistan to develop "targeted programmes" against the locusts.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51658145

Are they asking for payment up front - or will they put it on the bill?
 

Frideswide

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I wonder what the bill will be?
 
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ramonmercado

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Even larger swarms of locusts ... they'll need bigger ducks.

And now, at the worst time, a second wave of locusts 20 times bigger than the first has descended on the region, thanks to heavy rains late last month, according to the FAO.

The swarms have infiltrated Yemen and firmly established themselves across the Persian Gulf, having laid eggs along 560 miles of Iran’s coastline. New swarms are particularly severe in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

"The timing is really horrendous, because the farmers are just planting, and the seedlings are just coming up now since it's the beginning of the rainy season," says Keith Cressman, senior locust forecasting officer with the FAO. "And it's right at the same time when you have an increasing number of swarms in Kenya and in Ethiopia. There's already pictures and reports of the seedlings getting hammered by the swarms. So basically that's it for the farmers' crops."

https://www.wired.com/story/africas-huge-locust-swarms-are-growing-at-the-worst-time/
 
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