“Heavy rain triggers the growth of vegetation in arid areas where desert locusts can then grow and breed. These locusts, which migrated to India early this year, might have found greener pastures as the pre-monsoon rains during March–May were in excess over north India.”
So essentially, if our planet keeps warming, swarms of this size and destruction could become far more common.
What’s a Locust Anyway?
As CBS News explained, locusts are similar to grasshoppers, but can migrate over much large distances: a swarm can cover about 90 miles in a day. The desert locusts are known to form particularly dense, and highly mobile swarms.
- They don’t attack people or animals, but they’re considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world, with a small swarm of about 40 million locusts capable of gobbling up enough food for 35,000 people.
Impact on India: CBS noted that the immense crop damage comes as many farmers were already struggling with the impact of India’s 2-month coronavirus lockdown, which left them largely without the workers to tend to their crops.
The New York Times reported that the swarms have overrun one of India’s renowned tiger reserves, Panna National Park, covering the trees in straight lines of countless insects, like a twitching bark. The swarms are so bad that the Indian government has offered to set aside some of its differences with Pakistan to provide the neighboring country with pesticide to spray on its side of the border.
Take a look at what a swarm looks like: