Swarms of locusts have entered Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Videos of locusts invading Jaipur and the outskirts of Jhansi have put the neighboring areas on high- alert.
According to a government directive, the swarms are expanding and might soon enter Delhi and Mathura.
Locust Swarming: Everything you need to know
Locusts are desert grasshoppers, migratory in nature. In intercontinental context, they are one of the most dangerous pests because they travel in huge swarms, can destroy standing crops, are difficult to kill, change their migratory patterns and therefore its harder to predict their movement.
India has not had any major locust attack since 2011 and so this 2020 swarming has created panic among people.
These current locust swarms have originated in North West Pakistan and crossed over Barmer, Jaisalmer and arrived in Jaipur.
The locusts have devoured huge tracts of standing crops and people have taken to social media sharing harrowing accounts of locusts destroying properties. The invasion is so severe that Panna Reserve in Madhya Pradesh has also come under attack.
Response and Prevention
Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, External Affairs, Home Affairs, Defence, Earth Sciences, Civil Aviation, and Communications are involved during the Desert Locust emergency.
The United Nations has warned that armies of locusts swarming across continents pose “severe risk” to India’s agriculture.
Delayed monsoon or prolonged summer is one of the chief reasons for locusts to form swarms and change their migratory patterns. Birds are the primary feeders of locusts. But erratic weather conditions and global warming have made most bird species endangered or extinct.
Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab on High Alert
It’s not good news that these migratory pests are on the path to India’s agricultural centers. The Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) issued an alert on 26th May that swarms from Rajasthan have moved towards Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat.
The swarming is expected to continue for another few days before the locusts change their path again or are completely neutralized. But the current attack is the worst India has faced in the last 30 years.