Locusts: battling the great plague

Jul 04, 2019, 11:00 AM

The solitary locust is a harmless insect. Food scarcity exposes it to other locusts which bring about physical and behavioural changes. The result is a devastating swarm that can bring starvation and famine upon human populations.

The first written records of locust swarms are over 3 millennia old. Today, international organisations work to prevent the formation of these swarms that devour their own body weight in food every day. A swarm of desert locusts can build into tens of millions of insects, wreaking havoc on farmland, and are a serious threat to human food security.

In 2019 swarms have hit Sardinia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan and Yemen.

In this episode of Beyond the Headlines, host James Haines-Young speaks to Keith Cressman from the FAO Desert Locust Information Service that keeps a watch on all potential locust infestations across the globe and Professor Stephen Simpson AC, the Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, who has over three decades experience in studying locusts. 

Read more on our website:
Massive locust swarm provides a desert bounty in central Yemen - in pictures