Locust Threat in India

adsatinder

explorer
This Locust threat is almost a yearly phenomenon.
But only some places face it regularly.
These come in less numbers but come for sure on yearly basis.

But this year, North India may face more as these are going to invade cities also.
Don't know why this is happening.
But Jaipur has seen it now Delhi also has warning.
Don't know which part of Delhi will be more affected, but it is coming as warning is issued today.
 

adsatinder

explorer
Explained: Why locusts are being sighted in urban areas, what it can mean for crops


Locust Attack: Over the last few days, swarms of locusts have been sighted in urban areas of Rajasthan, which is unusual. Why are locusts being seen in urban areas? What led to their early arrival?


Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Updated: May 27, 2020 10:42:16 am


locust, locust attacks, locust attacks jaipur, locust attacks rajasthan, locust attack crops, locusts attack farmers, indian express


A swarm of desert locusts in Jaipur on Monday. (Express Photo: Rohit Jain Paras)
Over the last few days, swarms of locusts have been sighted in urban areas of Rajasthan, which is unusual. Swarms have also been reported from parts of Madhya Pradesh and Vidharbha region of Maharashtra. The first swarms were sighted along the India-Pakistan border on April 11, months ahead of the usual time of arrival.



What are locusts and when are they are sighted in India?
The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is a short-horned grasshopper. Innocuous when solitary, locusts undergo a behavioural change when their population builds up rapidly. They enter the ‘gregarious phase’ by forming huge swarms that can travel up to 150 km per day, eating up every bit of greenery on their way. These insects feed on a large variety of crops. If not controlled, locust swarms can threaten the food security of a country. At present countries in the Horn of Africa such as Ethiopia and Somalia are witnessing one of the worst locusts attacks in the last 25 years.

In India, locusts are normally sighted during July- October along the Pakistan border. Last year, parts of Western Rajasthan and Northern Gujarat reported swarms that caused damage to growing rabi crops. These were the first swarms reported in India since 1997. This year, the first sightings of small groups were reported early — on April 11 — by scientists of the Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organization (LWO), from Sri Ganganagar and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan.


Maharashtra to step up vigil against locusts in border districts


A desert locust. (Reuters Photo: Feisal Omar)


Why are locusts being seen in urban areas?
Locusts are being seen in areas not historically associated with such sightings — Jaipur, MP’s Gwalior, Morena and Sheopur, and recently stray swarms in Maharashtra’s Amravati, Nagpur and Wardha.
K L Gurjar, Deputy Director of LWO, said there being no crops in the fields, the locusts have moved across states attracted by green cover. “The swarms were aided by high-speed wind and thus they made their way to Jaipur,” he said. At present there are three to four swarms in Rajasthan, another two or three in Madhya Pradesh, from where a small group has migrated to Maharashtra, which Gurjar said would not be very difficult to control.


Explained: Why locusts are being sighted in urban areas, what it can mean for crops


The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is a short-horned grasshopper. (Express Photo: Rohit Jain Paras)
Keith Cressman, senior locust forecaster of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said the locusts have started moving in search of food. “Spring-bred swarms from Pakistan started arriving in Rajasthan earlier this month. As this is before the monsoon rains, they found dry conditions so they continued to move east in Rajasthan looking for green vegetation for food and shelter where they will mature and then lay eggs with the onset of the monsoon in about five weeks,” he said.



What led to their early arrival?
This can be traced back to the cyclonic storms Mekunu and Luban that had struck Oman and Yemen respectively in 2018. These turned large deserts tracts into lakes, facilitating locust breeding that continued through 2019. Swarms attacking crops in East Africa reached peak populations from November, and built up in southern Iran and Pakistan since the beginning of 2020, with heavy rains in East Africa in March-April enabling further breeding.


Explained: Why locusts are being sighted in urban areas, what it can mean for crops


In India, locusts are normally sighted during July- October along the Pakistan border. This picture is from Jaipur, on Monday. (Express Photo: Rohit Jain Paras)



What can it mean to crops in India?
At present, chances of crop damage are low given that farmers have already harvested their rabi crop. Orange growers in Maharashtra have expressed concern but as Gurjar said, the swarm in Maharashtra would be easy to control.
The bigger problem will come once the present swarms breed. An adult female locust lays 80-90 eggs thrice in her three-month life cycle. If left uncontrolled, a swarm can grow exponentially to 40-80 million locusts per square kilometre, Gurjar and others estimatee. The locusts will start laying eggs after the monsoon starts and continue breeding for two more months, with newer generations rising during the growth phase of the kharif crop.



Explained: Why locusts are being sighted in urban areas, what it can mean for crops



If not controlled, locust swarms can threaten the food security of a country. (Express Photo: Rohit Jain Paras)
Earlier this month, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar chaired a meeting to take stock of the situation. Control involves spraying insecticide on locusts’ night resting places like trees. Till date, the LWO has carried out spraying over 21,675 hectares in Rajasthan. India has also put an order of 60 specialised insecticide sprayers with the UK. Gurjar said the country already has 50 such machines. “Also, drones will be used to spray the resting places,” he said.


Explained: Why locusts are being sighted in urban areas, what it can mean for crops
 

citymonk

Super User
Sacry situation
Why Scary, this is in fact very natural phenomenon.
This is age old phenomenon and nothing new. Government officials make big hype out of this and get themselves allocated large funds to control them.

Mosquito breeding is bigger issue and no government talks about them.

'Tidi Dal' scare also suits governments, both in India and Pakistan as it will draw attention away from sarkari failures on other real issues.
 

adsatinder

explorer
9 maps to show how locusts have come to threaten India
Increase in frequency of cyclones results in extended, multiple breeding sessions of locusts

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 26 May 2020




Locusts are breeding 400 times more than usual, according to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Recent locust attacks that hit Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and parts of Haryana and Gujarat may have occurred due to excess rain in March, April and the first half of May 2020. Locusts are also breeding 400 times more than usual, according to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The current locust attack was categorised into three regions across the world by the

FAO: The eastern region, including India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, the central region including countries in the Horn of Africa and the western region including west African countries.


1590658780434.png





Swarms of locusts threaten to be the next big problem for agriculture in India, especially western India.

1590658817788.png






They have invaded large tracts of Rajasthan, moving in from Pakistan. Already, they have spread to parts of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.


1590658878667.png












These desert locusts are voracious eaters and are now multiplying at an astounding 400 times their usual rate, thanks to favourable climatic condition.



1590658281831.png


Pakistan earlier declared emergency on February 2, after locust swarms put its food security at risk. Pakistan lost about 40 per cent of its food crops by December 2019, according to media reports.











1590658066889.png


The real threat to the kharif crop has led to the mainstream media taking note. The problem, however, was brewing for some time.









1590658007550.png



The FAO, in a bulletin on May 21, 2020 said rain in early June along the India-Pakistan border will aid the laying of locust eggs.



1590657944290.png


Around 38,308 hectares in 22 of 33 districts in Rajasthan are under locust attack, according to the state government. Locusts have reached as far as Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh from Pakistan in April.




1590657866587.png


Wind and rainfall have combined to provide the conditions for the movement of the locusts into areas that usually do not get impacted by them.





1590657817277.png

The locusts move from the western region to central and then eastern regions, as their population increases. Usually only one swarm crosses over to India from Pakistan, but this time, multiple swarms emerged, according to experts.
These maps from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations tell the story of their recent spread, spanning two continents.


9 maps to show how locusts have come to threaten India
 
Last edited:

adsatinder

explorer
Unusual rains cause locust attacks in UP, MP after 27 years
Excess rainfall in March, April and early May, along with north westerly winds due to Super cyclone Amphan carried locusts to areas they did not usually impact



By Akshit Sangomla
Last Updated: Monday 25 May 2020



Locust swarms can eat their way through vast areas of crops, endangering human food supplies. Photo: Pixabay



The recent locust attacks in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, parts of Gujarat and Haryana might be the result of excess rainfall in March, April and the first half of May, along with the prevalence of north westerly winds in the wake of Super cyclone Amphan.
For Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, this has happened for the first time in 27 years. Super cyclone Amphan, that hit the West Bengal coast on May 20, 2020, changed the direction of winds over India because of its anti-clockwise circulation of winds and resulted in heat waves in northwest, central and peninsular India, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
“Locusts are a genetic phase of the grass hopper which prevail under favourable environmental conditions. They emerge from the soil when there is rainfall as the eggs are laid there,” AK Chakravarthy, entomologist and former head of Indian Institute of Horticulural Research of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Bengaluru, said.
“Then, they move towards areas with green cover. The continued rainfall might have created these green patches along with cultivated farmlands in the regions which are now witnessing the swarms,” he added.
If there are winds in a specific direction, they will move along them and devour any green patches they find in their path. The north westerly winds might have brought them from Pakistan, which is facing one of its worst locust crisis, to Rajasthan and then to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The wind and rainfall have combined to provide the conditions for the movement of the locusts into areas that usually do not get impacted by them.
According to data from the IMD, Rajasthan has 25 districts with large excess rainfall (more than 60 per cent excess rainfall) from March 1 to May 25 while Madhya Pradesh has 39 districts with large excess rainfall.
These numbers for Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are 71 and 19 respectively. These constitute more than 90 per cent districts in these states.
“They generally prefer new tender leaves over old and drying leaves and plants as they contain proteins and carbohydrates that are easily digestible,” Chakravarthy said. The locusts are finding such young leaves wherever they are moving.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations in its latest locust bulletin on May 21 said the insects’ spring breeding has continued in Iran and southwest Pakistan and that they will be moving to the India-Pakistan border till at least early July.
The FAO bulletin also says that rainfall in early June along the India-Pakistan border will aid in egg laying of the locusts. This, it pointed out, will limit the further eastward spread of the locusts that has not happened as the swarms have moved further east.
The rising heat and heat waves in the affected regions will also not impact the locusts as they can survive in hot and water scarce conditions.
“This is because locusts store energy in the form of lipids which contain water. They can depend upon water released when lipids get digested to tide over water stressed conditions that can result from higher temperatures,” Chakravarthy said.
Their rate of metabolism (rate at which they digest food) also increases with increasing temperatures, making them even more dangerous. This also means that rising temperatures and global warming can make locusts much more potent.
Half a million locusts can weigh approximately one tonne and these can eat as much food in one day as about 10 elephants, 25 camels or 2,500 people. A large locust swarm can range up to 150 million per square kilometre. A one square kilometre swarm is capable of eating the food of 7,50,000 people or 3,000 elephants in a day.
From December 2019 to February 2020, locusts had attacked many parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab mainly because of an elongated and intense southwest monsoon season till October and even early November. Unseasonal rainfall in Rajasthan in May 2019 might have aided their arrival in India from Iran via Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The locusts had travelled to Iran from the Arabian peninsula where they had grown to large numbers due to an unusual cyclone season in 2018. The cycle seems to be never ending and deadly.




Unusual rains cause locust attacks in UP, MP after 27 years
 

adsatinder

explorer
India in danger zone as locusts breed 400 times than usual
Attacks by desert locusts are threatening India, Iran and Pakistan, as well as the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region


By Ishan Kukreti
Last Updated: Monday 25 May 2020

Desert locusts are multiplying at 400 times than usual due to favourable climatic conditions. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Desert locusts are multiplying at 400 times than usual due to favourable climatic conditions. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Desert locusts are multiplying at 400 times than usual due to favourable climatic conditions. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Desert locusts are breeding 400 times than usual due to favourable climatic conditions, according to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). This explosive multiplication may spell disaster for large parts of Asia and Africa.
Favourable climatic conditions for the pests have resulted in their multiplication, that is 400 times more than usual.
Already 38,308 hectares in 22 out of 33 districts of Rajasthan are under locust attack, according to the state government. They have reached as far as Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, after entering from Pakistan in April
The current outbreak is affecting India, Iran and Pakistan, as well as the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea regions. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has categorised countries affected by locust attack in three regions:
  • The western region includes west African countries
  • The central region consists of countries in the Horn of Africa
  • The eastern region which consists of Iran, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan
The locusts move from the western region to the central and then to the eastern, as their population increases.
The Horn of Africa is facing the worst desert locust crisis in over 25 years, according to FAO. Meanwhile, Kenya and Iran are facing their most serious locust crisis in 70 years.

1590658996942.png


The FAO's locust update between May 1-20. Source: FAO

“The current situation — an upsurge with the potential to become a regional plague — represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the region and could lead to further suffering, displacement and potential conflict,” the FAO report said.
Heavy rainfall in the central and eastern region in counties like Yemen, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Iran, Afghanistan have helped in the breeding of the locusts.
“It is rare for locusts to reach all the way to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh where they can find green areas to feed on. This will have a huge impact on food security,” Govind Gujar, a research scientist with South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), a Delhi-based non-profit working on agriculture and science, said.
“The female locust lays eggs in mostly sandy soil. If temperature is high and there is no rainfall, the breeding isn’t successful,” Gujar said.
“Spring breeding continues in southern Iran and southwest Pakistan where control operations are in progress against hopper groups and bands as well as an increasing number of adult groups,” the FAO’s Desert Locust Situation latest update on May 21, 2020, said.
“As vegetation dries out, more groups and swarms will form and move from these areas to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the India-Pakistan border as several waves from now until at least early July,” it added.

1590659452651.png


The FAO's forecast for desert locusts till July. Photo: FAO


“Good rains are predicted during the first half of June along the India-Pakistan border that would allow egg-laying to occur. This should reduce the further eastward movement of swarms that have already arrived in Rajasthan, India,” it noted.
Experts say that usually only one swarm crosses over to India from Pakistan, but this time, multiple swarms have come.
“Unlike earlier, multiple swarms have come and that is a reason that many regions have been subsequently affected,” a scientist with the Central Arid Zone Research Institute told Down to Earth on condition of anonymity.




India in danger zone as locusts breed 400 times than usual
 
Last edited:

adsatinder

explorer
After COVID-19, India’s next challenge could be mega-sized locust attack this summer



Atul Aneja


NEW DELHI, APRIL 25, 2020 09:17 IST
UPDATED: APRIL 25, 2020 09:17 IST


According to Food and Agriculture Organisation, a one square kilometre of locust swarm, containing about 40 million locusts, can in a day eat as much food as 35,000 people. This Feb. 21, 2020 file photo shows swarm of desert locusts over a ranch near the town of Nanyuki in Laikipia county, Kenya.


According to Food and Agriculture Organisation, a one square kilometre of locust swarm, containing about 40 million locusts, can in a day eat as much food as 35,000 people. This Feb. 21, 2020 file photo shows swarm of desert locusts over a ranch near the town of Nanyuki in Laikipia county, Kenya. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

It has the potential to cause a food security issue, say officials
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s response to natural disasters is expected to be tested again this summer when a giant locust storm from the Horn of Africa is expected to attack farmlands in South Asia.
Official sources told The Hindu that the government was preparing for a “two-front war”— one, which was ongoing against the COVID-19 infections and another to ensure food security — in anticipation of the locust attack on farms.
Also read: Foodgrain stock will last till next March, says FCI chief

“We are preparing for a worst-case scenario. Starting from the Horn of Africa, and joined by desert locusts from breeding grounds en route, one locust stream can travel over a land corridor passing over Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India, impacting farmlands in Punjab, Haryana and the Indo-Gangetic plain. But another stream passing over the Indian Ocean can directly attack farms in peninsular India, and then head towards Bangladesh. Together, this can cause a serious food security issue,” the source said.

Destructive power
The destructive power of a typical locust swarm, which can vary from less than one square kilometre to several hundred square kilometres, is enormous, says the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on its website. A one square kilometre swarm, containing about 40 million locusts, can in a day eat as much food as 35,000 people, assuming that each individual consumes 2.3 kg of food per day.
An FAO situation update of April 21 paints a grim picture. It spotlights that desert locusts, which are breeding this spring in East Africa, Yemen and southern Iran, will gravely heighten the threat to food security in the Afro-Asian region.
Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India
In Iran, locust swarms could be forming near Jask — a port city on the Gulf of Oman, as well the Sistan-Baluchistan province, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, opening two trajectories of movement. In Pakistan, breeding grounds have been detected in Balochistan, the Indus Valley as well as Punjab. Besides, limited breeding has also been spotted near the Indian border. “We are hoping that the Pakistani side will take active measures to contain the crisis in their country, which can minimise the impact on India and beyond,” the source said.
Most countries combating locust swarms are mainly relying on organophosphate chemicals, which are applied in small concentrated doses by vehicle-mounted and aerial sprayers.
The looming locust attack, which could undermine food security in the Afro-Asian region, follows the economic devastation, and the savaging of incomes, by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a briefing to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, warned that the pandemic could now be fusing into a “hunger pandemic”.
Lockdowns and economic recession are expected to lead to a major loss of income among the working poor... The loss of tourism receipts will damage countries such as Ethiopia, where it accounts for 47% of total exports. The collapsing oil prices in lower-income countries like South Sudan will have an impact significantly, where oil accounts for 98.8% of total exports. And, of course, when donor countries’ revenues are down, how much impact will this have on life saving foreign aid?” he observed.
Mr. Beasley estimated that COVID-19 would push an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation, bringing the global total of those facing extreme hunger to 265 million.



After COVID-19, India’s next challenge could be mega-sized locust attack this summer
 

adsatinder

explorer
After laying waste to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, desert locust swarms headed towards Delhi; wind pattern uncertain

The locust swarms threaten major damage to foliage and as such, can prove to be extremely detrimental to the capital city, considering that a section of it is under green cover


Representational Image



Representational Image

WRITTEN BY


DNA Web Team

EDITED BY
Joydeep Bose

SOURCE
DNA webdesk
Updated: May 27, 2020, 08:22 AM IST

The desert locust storms that have already invaded as far inland as Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, are now heading towards Delhi and the adjoining national capital region (NCR). This is another potential threat has entered India, as the country is already reeling with ensuing damages from a virus outbreak and a super cyclone. As the authorities figure out how to deal with the full extent of continued devastation from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and that left behind by Cyclone Amphan, now a vicious locust storm is fast approaching Delhi, eating up everything on the way.
The Delhi and Uttar Pradesh administrations have already started sounding the warning bells for the same as well.
According to scientists, the locust swarms threaten major damage to foliage and as such, can prove to be extremely detrimental to the capital city, considering that a major section of it is under green cover. Moreover, the threat is especially prominent this year because the desert locust storms are usually solitary or in small groups, but this year an unusually large swarm has been noticed.

The locusts are also peculiarly ahead of their normal time of arrival in June and July, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has noted. The swarm is currently active in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh, which is the most affected state. The insects are currently headed towards Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh where they have not yet reached, provided they find wind conditions favourable for arrival.
The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria; Gryllus gregarius) is a species of locust, a swarming short-horned grasshopper in the family Acrididae. It is one of the most devastating migratory pests in the world and it is highly mobile and feeds on large quantities of any kind of green vegetation, including crops, pasture, and fodder.
Accordingly, the threat level is primarily high for the farmers, since their livelihood is directly under attack from these pests. Given India is largely an agriculture-based economy and that the farmers' backbone in this country has been constantly dealing with crises originating due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the scare is worse this time around.

The swarm, which originated from East Africa and rapidly progressed towards India and Pakistan, is likely to be accompanied by other swarms, experts say. This is, in some ways, a continuation of the original storm of locusts that had hit moved from the horn of Africa eastwards towards India last year. The wave had damaged crops over lakhs of hectares after the swarm hit Rajasthan in May last year and later subsequent waves kept ravaging Western India.
The Union Ministry of Agriculture's Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) first spotted the swarm in April. Now it is coordinating with the India Meteorological Organisation (IMD) to keep a track of the wind patterns to have the latest idea regarding the locust swarm's route.


After laying waste to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, desert locust swarms headed towards Delhi; wind pattern uncertain
 

adsatinder

explorer
Locust plague: Millions at risk of famine
61,127 views
•Feb 10, 2020



419
24



Al Jazeera English

5.23M subscribers


SUBSCRIBE
It is the worst invasion of desert locusts in a quarter of a century. The food supplies and livelihoods of millions across East Africa and South Asia are under threat. The situation has been declared a national emergency in some countries, including Somalia and Pakistan. Al Jazeera's Priyanka Gupta reports.
 
Top