June 10, 2019– Mary Greeley News – Millions of locusts have devastated at least 2,000 hectares of crops in Sardinia, Italian farmers union Coldiretti said Monday, with experts calling the invasion the worst in six decades.
The most affected areas are Nuoro, Ottana and Orani in the middle of the Mediterranean island, with many areas blanketed by the insects, Coldiretti said in a statement.
The locust invasion is the worst in the area in 60 years, local entomologist Ignazio Floris told La Stampa daily.
The insect explosion is linked to a sharp rise in temperatures after a relatively cold May, with many of the young insects emerging from uncultivated land.
Cultivating land for crops discourages the insects laying their eggs in the autumn and prevents them reaching maturity in the summer warmth.
“The locusts emerge on uncultivated land but then they go to cultivated land to eat,” said Coldiretti, adding that there is no current solution to the invasion.
Iran: In mid-May, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned of another desert locust breakout in mid-June in Iran if the current situation is not controlled.
In a more recent report updated on June 5 FAO noted that intensive ground and aerial control operations continued during May against widespread infestations of hopper and adult groups, bands and swarms in Saudi Arabia and Iran that developed from two generations of unprecedented spring breeding.
Swarms moved from eastern Yemen into the central highlands and a few continued into southern Saudi Arabia. A few swarms moved to southern Jordan during a brief period of unusual southerly winds while hopper bands and immature adult groups were present along the Kuwait / Saudi Arabia border. Winter-bred immature adult groups persisted on the northern Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia and the coast in southeast Egypt. At the end of May, adult groups appeared in the interior along both sides of the Egypt/Sudan border.
January Locusts Swarm In Mecca
Earlier this week Esmaeil Najjar, head of Iran’s Crisis Management Organization, announced that some 153 swarms of desert locusts from Saudi Arabia which penetrated into the southeastern provinces have been controlled.
FAO explains that adult locust swarms can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind. Female locusts can lay 300 eggs within their lifetime while an adult insect can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day – about two grams every day. A very small swarm eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people and the devastating impact locusts can have on crops poses a major threat to food security, especially in already vulnerable areas.
Locusts Again Invade Israel, This Time from Syria
Israel’s northern region – specifically, the Golan Heights – has been invaded from Syria by a new kind of terrorist: locusts.
Thousands of the insects crossed the border this week and invaded Moshav Alonei Habashan, a Jewish community located along the border, according to Israel’s Kan public broadcasting network.
Usually such swarms have infiltrate Israel from the direction of the south, from the deserts of Egypt. This past winter Egypt was struck by a brief locust swarm that arrived from the direction of Africa.
But for a period of eight months in 1915, the entire area around Israel, Lebanon and Syria was stripped of nearly all vegetation by huge swarms of locusts.
credit: In part with https://phys.org/news/2019-06-locust-swarm-decimates-crops-sardinia.html