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Locusts (derived from the
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is th ...
''locusta'', meaning
grasshopper Grasshoppers are a group of insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''comm ...

grasshopper
) are a group of certain
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
of short-horned
grasshopper Grasshoppers are a group of insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''comm ...

grasshopper
s in the family
Acrididae The AcrididaeMacLeay WS (1821) ''Horae Entomologicae or Essays on the Annulose Animals'' 2 are the predominant family of grasshopper Grasshoppers are a group of insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invert ...

Acrididae
that have a
swarming Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour The expression collective behavior was first used by Franklin Henry Giddings, Franklin Henry and employed later by Robert E. Park, Robert E. , Herbert Blumer, Herbert , Ralph H. Turne ...
phase. These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances they become more abundant and change their behaviour and habits, becoming
gregarious Sociality is the degree to which individuals in an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions ...
. No taxonomic distinction is made between locust and grasshopper species; the basis for the definition is whether a species forms swarms under intermittently suitable conditions. Normally, these grasshoppers are innocuous, their numbers are low, and they do not pose a major economic threat to agriculture. However, under suitable conditions of
drought A drought is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric (below-average precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorolog ...

drought
followed by rapid vegetation growth,
serotonin Serotonin () or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a monoamine neurotransmitter Monoamine neurotransmitters are s and s that contain one group connected to an by a two-carbon chain (such as -CH2-CH2-). Examples are , and . All monoamines are ...

serotonin
in their brains triggers a dramatic set of changes: they start to breed abundantly, becoming gregarious and nomadic (loosely described as migratory) when their populations become dense enough. They form bands of wingless
nymphs A nymph ( grc, νύμφη, nýmphē, el, script=Latn, nímfi, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Gree ...
that later become swarms of winged adults. Both the bands and the swarms move around and rapidly strip fields and cause damage to crops. The adults are powerful fliers; they can travel great distances, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles. Locusts have formed plagues since
prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, ...
. The
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
ians carved them on their tombs and the insects are mentioned in the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Moder ...

Iliad
'', the
Mahabharata The ''Mahābhārata'' (; sa, महाभारतम्, ', ) is one of the two major Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan langua ...

Mahabharata
, and the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
. Swarms have devastated crops and have been a contributory cause of
famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual con ...

famine
s and human migrations. More recently, changes in
agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agricultural
practices and better surveillance of locations where swarms tend to originate have meant that control measures can be used at an early stage. The traditional means of control are based on the use of
insecticide Insecticides are substances used to kill insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from ...
s from the ground or the air, but other methods using
biological control Biological control or biocontrol is a method of pest control, controlling pests such as insects, mites, weeds and phytopathology, plant diseases bioeffector, using other organisms. It relies on predation, parasitism, herbivory, or other natur ...
are proving effective. Swarming behaviour decreased in the 20th century, but despite modern surveillance and control methods, the potential for swarms to form is still present; when suitable climatic conditions occur and vigilance lapses, plagues can occur. Locusts are large insects and convenient for use in research and the study of zoology in the classroom. They are edible by humans; they have been eaten throughout history and are considered a
delicacy A delicacy is usually a rare or expensive food item that is considered highly desirable, sophisticated or peculiarly distinctive, within a given culture. Irrespective of local preferences, such a label is typically pervasive throughout a re ...

delicacy
in many countries.


Swarming grasshoppers

Locusts are the
swarming Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour The expression collective behavior was first used by Franklin Henry Giddings, Franklin Henry and employed later by Robert E. Park, Robert E. , Herbert Blumer, Herbert , Ralph H. Turne ...
phase of certain species of short-horned
grasshopper Grasshoppers are a group of insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''comm ...

grasshopper
s in the family
Acrididae The AcrididaeMacLeay WS (1821) ''Horae Entomologicae or Essays on the Annulose Animals'' 2 are the predominant family of grasshopper Grasshoppers are a group of insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invert ...

Acrididae
. These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances become more abundant and change their behaviour and habits, becoming
gregarious Sociality is the degree to which individuals in an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions ...
. No
taxonomic Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only about biological ...
distinction is made between locust and grasshopper species; the basis for the definition is whether a species forms swarms under intermittently suitable conditions. In English, the term "locust" is used for grasshopper species that change morphologically and behaviourally on crowding, forming swarms that develop from bands of immature stages called hoppers. The change is referred to in the technical literature as "density-dependent
phenotypic plasticity Phenotypic plasticity refers to some of the changes in an organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Mol ...
". These changes are examples of phase
polyphenism A polyphenic trait is a trait for which multiple, discrete phenotypes can arise from a single genotype as a result of differing environmental conditions. It is therefore a special case of phenotypic plasticity. There are several types of polyph ...
; they were first analysed and described by
Boris Uvarov Sir Boris Petrovitch Uvarov (3 November 1886 – 18 March 1970) was a Russian-British entomologist best known for his work on the biology and ecology of locusts. He has been called the father of acridology. Biography Boris Petrovitch Uvarov was ...
, who was instrumental in setting up the Anti-Locust Research Centre. He made his discoveries during his studies of the migratory locust in the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
, whose solitary and gregarious phases had previously been thought to be separate species (''Locusta migratoria'' and ''L. danica'' L.). He designated the two phases as ''solitaria'' and ''gregaria''. These are also referred to as
statary Statary is a term currently applied in fields such as ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their phys ...
and migratory
morph Morph may refer to: Biology * Morph (zoology), a visual or behavioral difference between organisms of distinct populations in a species * Muller's morphs, a classification scheme for genetic mutations * "-morph", a suffix commonly used List of ...
s, though strictly speaking, their swarms are
nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

nomad
ic rather than migratory.
Charles Valentine Riley Charles Valentine Riley (18 September 1843 – 14 September 1895) was a British-born American entomologist and artist. He was one of the first individuals to use biological pest control and authored over 2,400 publications. He convinced Congress ...
and Norman Criddle were also involved in achieving the understanding and control of locusts. Swarming behaviour is a response to overcrowding. Increased tactile stimulation of the hind legs causes an increase in levels of serotonin. This causes the locust to change colour, eat much more, and breed much more easily. The transformation of the locust to the swarming form is induced by several contacts per minute over a four-hour period. A large swarm can consist of billions of locusts spread out over an area of thousands of square kilometres, with a population of up to 80 million per square kilometre (200 million per square mile). When desert locusts meet, their nervous systems release serotonin, which causes them to become mutually attracted, a prerequisite for swarming. The initial bands of gregarious hoppers are known as "outbreaks", and when these join together into larger groups, the event is known as an "upsurge". Continuing agglomerations of upsurges on a regional level originating from a number of entirely separate breeding locations are known as "plagues". During outbreaks and the early stages of upsurges, only part of the locust population becomes gregarious, with scattered bands of hoppers spread out over a large area. As time goes by, the insects become more cohesive and the bands become concentrated in a smaller area. In the desert locust plague in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia that lasted from 1966 to 1969, the number of locusts increased from two to 30 billion over two generations, but the area covered decreased from over to .


Solitary and gregarious phases

One of the greatest differences between the solitary and gregarious phases is behavioural. The ''gregaria'' nymphs are attracted to each other, this being seen as early as the second
instar An instar (, from the Latin ''īnstar'', "form", "likeness") is a developmental stage of arthropods An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly ...
. They soon form bands of many thousands of individuals. These groups behave like cohesive units and move across the landscape, mostly downhill, but making their way around barriers and merging with other bands. The attraction between the insects involves visual and
olfactory The sense of smell, or olfaction, is the special sense In medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, the ...
cues. The bands seem to navigate using the sun. They pause to feed at intervals before continuing on, and may cover tens of kilometres over a few weeks. Also, differences in morphology and development are seen. In the desert locust and the migratory locust, for example, the ''gregaria'' nymphs become darker with strongly contrasting yellow and black markings, they grow larger, and have a longer nymphal period; the adults are larger with different body proportions, less
sexual dimorphism Sexual dimorphism is the condition where the sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in ...
, and higher
metabolic rate Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are: the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cell ...

metabolic rate
s; they mature more rapidly and start reproducing earlier, but have lower levels of
fecundity Fecundity is defined in two ways; in human demography, it is the potential for reproduction of a recorded population Population typically refers the number of people in a single area whether it be a city or town, region, country, or the wor ...
. The mutual attraction between individual insects continues into adulthood, and they continue to act as a cohesive group. Individuals that get detached from a swarm fly back into the mass. Others that get left behind after feeding take off to rejoin the swarm when it passes overhead. When individuals at the front of the swarm settle to feed, others fly past overhead and settle in their turn, the whole swarm acting like a rolling unit with an ever-changing leading edge. The locusts spend much time on the ground feeding and resting, moving on when the vegetation is exhausted. They may then fly a considerable distance before settling in a location where transitory rainfall has caused a green flush of new growth.


Distribution and diversity

Several species of
grasshopper Grasshoppers are a group of insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''comm ...

grasshopper
s swarm as locusts in different parts of the world, on all continents except Antarctica and North America: For example, the
Australian plague locust The Australian plague locust (''Chortoicetes terminifera'') is a native Australian insect in the family Acrididae, and a significant Pest (organism), agricultural pest. Adult Australian plague locusts range in size from 20 to 45 mm in lengt ...
(''Chortoicetes terminifera'') swarms across Australia. The
desert locust The desert locust (''Schistocerca gregaria'') is a species of locust Locusts (derived from the Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written wor ...
(''Schistocerca gregaria'') is probably the best known species owing to its wide distribution (
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
,
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, and Indian subcontinent) and its ability to
migrate Migration, migratory, or migrate may refer to: Human migration * Human migration, physical movement by humans from one region to another ** International migration, when peoples cross state boundaries and stay in the host state for some minimum le ...
over long distances. A major infestation covered much of western Africa in 2003-4, after unusually heavy rain set up favourable ecological conditions for swarming. The first outbreaks occurred in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Sudan in 2003. The rain allowed swarms to develop and move north to Morocco and Algeria, threatening croplands. Swarms crossed Africa, appearing in Egypt, Jordan and Israel, the first time in those countries for 50 years. The cost of handling the infestation was put at US$122 million, and the damage to crops at up to $2.5 billion. The
migratory locust The migratory locust (''Locusta migratoria'') is the most widespread locust species, and the monotypic, only species in the genus ''Locusta''. It occurs throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It used to be common in Europe but has n ...
(''Locusta migratoria''), sometimes classified into up to 10 subspecies, swarms in Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, but has become rare in Europe. In 2013, the Madagascan form of the migratory locust formed many swarms of over a billion insects, reaching "plague" status and covering about half the country by March 2013. Species such as the Senegalese grasshopper (''Oedaleus senegalensis'') and the African rice grasshopper (''Hieroglyphus daganensis''), both from the
Sahel The Sahel (; ar, ساحل ' , "coast, shore") is the ecoclimatic and of in between the to the north and the to the south. Having a , it stretches across the south-central latitudes of between the Atlantic Ocean and the . The Sahel part o ...

Sahel
, often display locust-like behaviour and change morphologically on crowding. North America is currently the only continent besides Antarctica without a native locust species. The
Rocky Mountain locust The Rocky Mountain locust (''Melanoplus spretus'') is an extinct species of grasshopper that ranged through the western half of the United States and some western portions of Canada with large numbers seen until the end of the 19th century. Sight ...

Rocky Mountain locust
was formerly one of the most significant insect pests there, but it became extinct in 1902. In the 1930s, during the
Dust Bowl The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storm A dust storm, also called a sandstorm, is a meteorological phenomenon common in arid A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent o ...
, a second species of North American locust, the High Plains locust (''
Dissosteira longipennis ''Dissosteira longipennis'', the high plains locust, is a species of band-winged grasshopper in the family Acrididae The AcrididaeMacLeay WS (1821) ''Horae Entomologicae or Essays on the Annulose Animals'' 2 are the predominant family of grass ...
'') reached plague proportions in the American Midwest. Today, the High Plains locust is a rare species, leaving North America with no regularly swarming locusts.


Interaction with humans


Ancient times

Study of literature shows how pervasive plagues of locusts were over the course of history. The insects arrived unexpectedly, often after a change of wind direction or weather, and the consequences were devastating. The Ancient Egyptians carved locusts on tombs in the period 2470 to 2220 BC. A devastating plague in Egypt is also mentioned in the
Book of Exodus The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Starting with the deliverance of Moses by Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus), Pharaoh's daughter, it recounts the revelation at the Burning bush where he was called by Yahweh ...
in the Bible. The ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Moder ...

Iliad
'' mentions locusts taking to the wing to escape fire. Plagues of locusts are also mentioned in the Quran. In the ninth century BC, the Chinese authorities appointed anti-locust officers. Human-headed locusts are also mentioned in the
Book of Revelation The Book of Revelation (also called the Apocalypse of John, Revelation to John or Revelation from Jesus Christ) is the final book of the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; ...
.
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
studied locusts and their breeding habits and
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
recorded a devastating plague in
Capua Capua (, ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services ...

Capua
in 203 BC. He mentioned human epidemics following locust plagues which he associated with the stench from the putrifying corpses; the linking of human disease outbreaks to locust plagues was widespread. A pestilence in the northwestern provinces of China in 311 AD that killed 98% of the population locally was blamed on locusts, and may have been caused by an increase in numbers of
rat Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area a ...

rat
s (and their
flea Flea, the common name for the order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, tr ...
s) that devoured the locust carcasses.


Recent times

During the last two millennia, locust plagues continued to appear at irregular intervals with the main recorded outbreaks of the desert and migratory locusts occurring in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Other species of locusts caused havoc in North and South America, Asia, and Australasia; 173 outbreaks over a period of 1924 years have been recorded in China. The Bombay locust (''Nomadacris succincta'') was a major pest in India and southeastern Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries, but has seldom swarmed since the last plague in 1908. In the spring of 1747 locusts arrived outside
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
eating the majority of the crops and vegetation of the surrounding countryside. One local barber, Ahmad al-Budayri, recalled the locusts "came like a black cloud. They covered everything: the trees and the crops. May God Almighty save us!" The extinction of the
Rocky Mountain locust The Rocky Mountain locust (''Melanoplus spretus'') is an extinct species of grasshopper that ranged through the western half of the United States and some western portions of Canada with large numbers seen until the end of the 19th century. Sight ...

Rocky Mountain locust
has been a source of puzzlement. It had swarmed throughout the west of the United States and parts of Canada in the 19th century. Albert's swarm of 1875 was estimated to cover (greater than the area of
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
) and to weigh 27.5 million tons, with some 12.5 trillion insects. The last specimen was seen alive in Canada in 1902. Recent research suggests the breeding grounds of this insect in the valleys of the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with simila ...

Rocky Mountains
came under sustained agricultural development during the large influx of gold miners,Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 DVD. ''Rocky Mountain Locust''. destroying the underground eggs of the locust. The 1915 infestation across Palestine and Syria was one of the main contributors to famine in Lebanon which lasted from 1915 to 1918 during which around 200,000 people died.


Monitoring

Early intervention is a more successful means of dealing with locusts than later action when swarms have already built up. The technology to control locust populations is now available, but the organisational, financial, and political problems may be difficult to overcome. Monitoring is the key to reducing damage, with the early detection and eradication of bands being the objective. Ideally, a sufficient proportion of nomadic bands can be treated with insecticide before the swarming phase is reached. Reaching this objective may be possible in richer countries like Morocco and Saudi Arabia, but neighbouring poorer countries (
Mauritania Mauritania (; ar, موريتانيا, ', french: Mauritanie; Berber languages, Berber: ''Agawej'' or ''Cengit''; Pulaar language, Pulaar: ''Moritani''; Wolof language, Wolof: ''Gànnaar''; Soninke language, Soninke: ''Murutaane''), officially ...

Mauritania
,
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
, etc.) lack the resources and may act as a source of locust swarms that threaten the whole region. Several organisations around the world monitor the threat from locusts. They provide forecasts detailing regions likely to suffer from locust plagues in the near future. In Australia, this service is provided by the
Australian Plague Locust Commission The Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC) is a division of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Australia), Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, created in 1974 to manage outbreaks of the Australian p ...
. It has been very successful in dealing with developing outbreaks, but has the great advantage of having a defined area to monitor and defend without locust invasions from elsewhere. In Central and Southern Africa, the service is provided by the International Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa. In West and Northwest Africa, the service is co-ordinated by the
Food and Agriculture Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency ...
's Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region, and executed by locust control agencies belonging to each country concerned. The FAO also monitors the situation in the Caucasus and Central Asia, where over 25 million hectares of cultivated land are under threat. In February 2020, in an effort to end massive locust outbreaks, India decided to use drones and special equipment to monitor locusts and spray insecticides.


Control

Historically, people could do little to protect their crops from being devastated by locusts, although eating the insects may have been some consolation. By the early 20th century, efforts were being made to disrupt the development of the insects by cultivating the soil where eggs were laid, collecting hoppers with catching machines, killing them with flamethrowers, trapping them in ditches, and crushing them with rollers and other mechanical methods. By the 1950s, the
organochloride An organochloride, organochlorine compound, chlorocarbon, or chlorinated hydrocarbon is an organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the c ...
dieldrin Dieldrin is an organochloride An organochloride, organochlorine compound, chlorocarbon, or chlorinated hydrocarbon is an organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains w ...

dieldrin
was found to be an extremely effective insecticide, but it was later banned from use in most countries because of its persistence in the environment and its
bioaccumulation Bioaccumulation is the gradual accumulation of substances, such as pesticides Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pest (organism), pests. The term pesticide includes all of the following: herbicide, insecticides (which may incl ...
in the
food chain A food chain is a linear network of links in a food web A food web is the natural interconnection of food chains and a graphical representation of what-eats-what in an ecological community. Another name for food web is Consumer-resource sy ...

food chain
. In years when locust control is needed, the hoppers are targeted early by applying water-based, contact
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s using tractor-based sprayers. This is effective but slow and labour-intensive, and where possible, spraying concentrated insecticide solutions from aircraft over the insects or the vegetation on which they feed is preferable. The use of ultralow-volume spraying of contact pesticides from aircraft in overlapping swathes is effective against nomadic bands and can be used to treat large areas of land swiftly. Other modern technologies used for planning locust control include
GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. governme ...
, GIS tools, and
satellite imagery Satellite images (also Earth observation imagery, spaceborne photography, or simply satellite photo) are image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret ...
, and computers provide rapid data management and analysis. A
biological pesticide Biopesticides, a contraction of 'biological pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ...
to control locusts was tested across Africa by a multinational team in 1997. Dried fungal spores of a ''
Metarhizium acridum ''Metarhizium acridum'' is the new name given to a group of fungal isolates that are known to be virulent and specific to the Acrididea Acrididea including the Acridomorpha is an infraorder of insects that describe the grasshoppers (thus als ...
'' sprayed in breeding areas pierce the locust exoskeleton on germination and invade the body cavity, causing death. The fungus is passed from insect to insect and persists in the area, making repeated treatments unnecessary. This approach to locust control was used in Tanzania in 2009 to treat around 10,000 hectares in the Iku-Katavi National Park infested with adult locusts. The outbreak was contained and the
elephant Elephants are the largest existing land animals. Three living species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A specie ...

elephant
s,
hippopotamus The hippopotamus ( ; ''Hippopotamus amphibius''), also called the hippo, common hippopotamus or river hippopotamus, is a large, mostly herbivorous A herbivore is an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryo ...

hippopotamus
es, and
giraffe The giraffe is a tall African mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''c ...

giraffe
s present in the area were unharmed. The ultimate goal in locust control is the use of preventive and proactive methods that disrupt the environment to the least possible extent. This would make agricultural production easier and more secure in the many regions where growing crops is of vital importance to the survival of the local people.


As experimental models

The locust is large and easy to breed and rear, and is used as an experimental model in research studies. It has been used in evolutionary biology research and to discover to what degree conclusions reached about other organisms, such as the (''Drosophila'') and the
housefly The housefly (''Musca domestica'') is a fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was orig ...

housefly
(''Musca''), are applicable to all insects. It is a suitable school laboratory animal because of its robustness and the ease with which it can be grown and handled.


As food

Locusts are
edible insects Insects as food or edible insects are insect species used for human consumption, e.g., whole or as an ingredient in Food processing, processed food products such as burger patties, pasta, or snacks. Edible insects Frequently consumed insect s ...

edible insects
. Several cultures throughout the world
consume insects Consumption may refer to: *Resource consumption *Tuberculosis, an infectious disease, historically in biology: * Consumption (ecology), receipt of energy by consuming other organisms in social sciences: * Consumption (economics), the purchasing of ...
, and locusts are considered a delicacy and eaten in many African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries. They have been used as food throughout history. They can be cooked in many ways, but are often fried, smoked, or dried. The Bible records that
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
ate locusts and wild honey ( el, ἀκρίδες καὶ μέλι ἄγριον, akrides kai meli agrion) while living in the wilderness. Attempts have been made to explain the locusts as some
ascetic Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις ''áskesis'', "exercise, training") is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their ...
vegetarian Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and it may also include abstaining from by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarianism may be adopted for v ...
food such as carob beans, but the plain meaning of ''akrides'' is the insects. The
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
, although disallowing the use of most insects as food, permits the consumption of certain locusts; specifically, the red, the yellow, the spotted grey, and the white are considered permissible. In
Islamic jurisprudence ''Fiqh'' (; ar} ) is Islamic jurisprudence. Muhammad-> Sahabah, Companions-> Tabi‘un, Followers-> Fiqh. The commands and prohibitions chosen by God were revealed through the agency of the Prophet in both the Quran and the Sunnah (words, de ...
, eating locusts is considered
halal ''Halal'' (; ar, حلال, ); is an Arabic word that translates to "permissible" in English. In the Quran The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن, translit=al-Qurʼān, lit=the recitation, ), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central rel ...

halal
. The Islamic prophet,
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
, was reported to have eaten locusts during a military raid with his companions. Locusts are eaten in the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
, including Saudi Arabia, where consumption of locusts spiked around
Ramadan , type = islam , longtype = Islam, Religious , image = Ramadan montage.jpg , caption=From top, left to right: A crescent moon over Sarıçam, Turkey, marking the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan. Ramadan Quran reading in Bandar Torkaman, I ...

Ramadan
especially in the
Al-Qassim Region The Qassim Province ( ar, منطقة القصيم ' , Najdi Arabic: ), also known as the Qassim Region, and officially the Emirate of Al-Qassim Province, is one of the 13 Regions of Saudi Arabia, provinces of Saudi Arabia. Located at the heart of ...
in 2014, since many Saudis believe they are healthy to eat. The Saudi Ministry of Health warned that pesticides they used against the locusts made them unsafe.
Yemenis This article is about the demographics, demographic features of the population of Yemen ( ar, سكان اليمن), including population density, Ethnic group, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliat ...
also consume locusts, and expressed discontent over governmental plans to use pesticides to control them. ʻAbd al-Salâm Shabînî described a locust recipe from Morocco. 19th century European travellers observed Arabs in Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco selling, cooking, and eating locusts. They reported that in Egypt and Palestine locusts were consumed. They reported that in Palestine, around the River Jordan, in Egypt, in Arabia, and in Morocco that Arabs ate locusts, while Syrian peasants did not eat locusts. In the Haouran region,
Fellah Fellah ( ar, فلاح ; feminine ; plural ''fellaheen'' or ''fellahin'', , ) is a peasant, usually a farmer A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livesto ...

Fellah
s who were in poverty and suffered from famine ate locusts after removing the guts and head, while locusts were swallowed whole by Bedouins. Syrians, Copts, Greeks, Armenians, and other Christians and Arabs themselves reported that in Arabia locusts were eaten frequently and one Arab described to a European traveler the different types of locusts which were favored as food by Arabs. Persians use the
Anti-Arab Anti-Arabism, Anti-Arab sentiment or Arabophobia includes opposition to, dislike, fear or hatred of, or advocacy of genocide of, Arabs, Arab people. Historically, anti-Arab prejudice has been an issue in such events as the Reconquista, reconq ...
racial slur "Arabe malakh-khor" ( fa, عرب ملخ خور, literally Arab locust eater) against Arabs. Locusts yield about five times more edible protein per unit of fodder than cattle, and produce lower levels of greenhouse gases in the process. The feed conversion rate of orthopterans is 1.7 kg/kg, while for beef it is typically about 10 kg/kg. The protein content in fresh weight is between 13 and 28 g / 100 g for adult locust, 14–18 g / 100 g for larvae, as compared to 19–26 g / 100 g for beef. The calculated protein efficiency ratio is low, with 1.69 for locust protein compared to 2.5 for standard casein. A serving of 100 g of desert locust provides 11.5 g of fat, 53.5% of which is unsaturated, and 286 mg of cholesterol. Among the fatty acids, palmitoleic acid, palmitoleic, oleic acid, oleic, and linolenic acid, linolenic acids were found to be the most abundant. Varying amounts of potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc were present.


See also

* List of locust swarms *
Australian Plague Locust Commission The Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC) is a division of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Australia), Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, created in 1974 to manage outbreaks of the Australian p ...
* LUBILOSA – Locust research programme


Notes


References


External links


Visual neuron of the locust
Ri Channel video, October 2011


FAO EMPRES



eLocust3M android app

Desert Locust Meteorological Monitoring at Sahel Resources

Locust Video

USAID Supplemental Environmental Assessment of the Eritrean Locust Control Program

USAID Supplemental Environmental Assessment: Pakistan Locust Control Programs, August 1993
*

{{Authority control Locusts, Biological hazards Edible insects Insect rearing Insects in culture Insect common names