LOCUSTS: A THREAT TO FARMING

In the recent past, many of us would have come across the term ‘LOCUSTS’ via some of the agents. Locusts are harmless flies and are believed to belong to the family of grasshoppers that do not pose a significant economic threat to agriculture.

However, under the circumstances of prompt vegetation growth preceded by a condition of drought, a chemical substance called  ‘SEROTONIN’ present in their brain is triggered,  causing a change in their body color, an increase in their appetite and abundant breeding.

As a result, there is a sudden increase in population, forming bands containing numerous of them; they move around rapidly, cleaning out fields and causing significant damage to the crops.

LOCUST BREEDING CONDITIONS AND SITES

  • The ideal locust breeding conditions include rainfall and vegetation. They breed more at the sites which have recently transformed from desert to plant.
  • In India, the climatic conditions generated due to the cyclone ‘NISARGA’ may offer locusts favourable conditions to breed along the Indo-Pakistan border.
  • Experts believe that this time locusts have originated in the Eastern Coast of Africa due to heavy rains over Eastern Africa and Arabian Peninsula.

LOCUSTS’ INTERACTION WITH HUMANS

  • Locusts do not attack people or animals directly. Moreover, evidence for locusts to the date says that they do not carry diseases that could harm humans; hence they don’t possess a direct threat to humans. They are lethal in an indirect way.
  •  They differ from most of the other harmful insects, as their way of causing destruction is unique.

LOCUST ATTACK IN INDIA

  • According to the reports, presently, five of the agriculture-dominated states have faced locust attacks; these swarms contain as many as 150 million locusts/ square km.
  • In a single day, they can damage the crops made to feed more than 35,000 people.
  • They have entered India after breeding and travelling through Balochistan, Iran, and Pakistan, impacting many of the dominant agricultural states: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Maharashtra.
  • So far, more than 85,000 hectares have been impacted.

MEASURES TAKEN BY INDIAN GOVERNMENT TO CURB LOCUST ATTACKS

  • Applying insecticides in small concentrations by vehicle-mounted and aerial sprayers is the fundamental way of preventing destruction. Most of the locust attack affected states have adopted the same technique.
  • On the night of 30th May 2020, a massive swarm of locusts was killed in Jaipur using a drone. This attempt was the 2nd time in the same week when the locusts were killed using a drone.

The Locust attack is an uncommon issue occurring mostly during the beginning of the Rainy season. This article is an initiative taken to bring awareness among the citizens about the not much discussed yet a serious issue having dire consequences. 

Not taking adequate steps may lead to a condition similar to famine.

Thank you

SOURCES USED FOR DATA COLLECTION :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locust

https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/education/do-locusts-bite-humans-are-locust-swarms-dangerous-harmful.html

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/locusts-attack-crops-in-several-indian-states-all-you-need-to-know/articleshow/75997743.cms

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