NEW DELHI: Swarms of the desert locust, a crop-destroying insects from the grasshopper family have entered Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharastra. The current locust invasion is the worst in India since 1993. The desert locust is one of the most destructive migratory pests in the world and they move in large groups called swarms. Locust Swarms invaded India via Pakistan. From Rajasthan they entered Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh's constituency Budhni in Sehore earlier this week via Neemuch and later moved to Ujjain and Dewas. In December 2019, crops spread over 25,000 hectares of land in some parts of Gujarat has been damaged by locust swarms.
Locusts normally live in a solitary life but in a period of dry of weather, they come together in a huge mass and can destroy thousands of acres of crops and green pastures within weeks. Locust swarms can travel tens of miles and can remain in the air for a long period of time. Each insect can eat crops as much as it weighs. Desert locusts originate in East Africa and Sudan. They fly in swarms across Saudi Arabia and Iran to Pakistan and India.
In Rajasthan, the desert locust has damaged crops spread over 5,00,000 hectares and the state is suffering from locust menace from the past three months. The officials are taking measures to neutralise the large swarm of locust before they cause more destruction. Spraying chemicals, using loud sounds through drums, banging of utensils, creating wood-fire to scare away the locusts are turning out to be futile.
Ministry of Agriculture of Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are taking measures to control the locust problem. Madhya Pradesh state, Agriculture Principal Secretary Ajit Kesari said, "The teams from the agriculture, revenue and forest departments are constantly keeping tabs on the location of locusts and the direction they take, besides controlling their population by spraying insecticides on them."