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Over 80 years later, great locust swarms still can't be contained. Last week, the U.N. announced that desert locusts — the most devastating type — descended upon East Africa, and over the coming months the insects may increase their populations by a whopping 500-fold. "Kenya has not faced a locust threat of this magnitude in 70 years," the U.N. said. A single swarm of locusts, which are voracious grasshopper species that can spread over 460-square miles of land, have been a scourge — at least through the eyes of humans — for thousands of years. In more modern times, the British formed an anti-locust unit at the height of World War II to combat the pests in Africa and the Middle East, and a New York Times reporter pondered, in 1976, if "swarms that darken the sky" and "denude the land of crops" could be eliminated by progressing technology. Still today, the locust affliction continues.
"Locusts are highly cannibalistic," explained Couzin, noting that they start cannibalizing when swarming begins and food starts to vanish. "As soon as resources are limited they turn on each other." Though locust swarms impact about one in 10 people on Earth, there's a glaring lack of funding for swarm research. In part, this is because the swarms exist in boom and bust cycles, so there might be less research interest in the years, or sometimes decades, between outbreaks. What's more, Couzin pointed out that locust swarms usually aren't descending upon the rich world. "It's affecting poor people," he said, so there's a lack of interest from wealthier nations.
Locusts are grasshoppers which develop gregarious characteristics in suitable environmental conditions forming an organized group. Such conditions are particularly driven by a period of dense vegetative growth after a dry spell. Drought drives locusts to crowd in small areas where there is vegetation. Locusts then abandon their solitary phase as grasshoppers and reproduce at dramatically high rates forming bands of nymphs and swarms as adults.
originally posted by: strongfp
I think as long as humans continue to cultivate massive farm lands locusts will be there chomping on our food.