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Research at Oxford University has identified that 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 color, eat much more, and breed much more easily. The transformation of the locust to the swarming variety is induced by several contacts per minute over a four-hour period. It is estimated that the largest swarms have covered hundreds of square miles and consisted of many billions of locusts.
After living with drought, dead crops, dust and no money, can you imagine having to deal with plagues of locusts, as well? Nearly annual infestations of grasshoppers by the billions added to the misery of life during the Dust Bowl. One woman related the story of how when she was a little girl, the grasshoppers completely consumed her beloved lacey denim jacket, leaving only the brass buttons. One young man told about how he and his buddies would bet matchsticks on how long it would take a grasshopper to eat a weed down to the ground.
The grasshoppers ate lawns in Denver, stripped the cattle grazing areas northwest of Ft. Collins and chewed 50 acres of beans down to bare ground. They sometimes moved as fast as a mile and a half a day. People spoke of seeing the ground "moving, alive, crawling." Some small-town main streets were blanketed with marching grasshoppers. When the billions of grasshoppers took to the sky, they would practically black out the sun.
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Originally posted by silent thunder
Wouldn't a massive plague of locusts just be the cherry on the doom cake at this point?