17 Fascinating Locust Facts

17 Fascinating Locust Facts - General Knowledge - News

17 Fascinating Locust Facts

Fascinating Locust Facts: From Ancient Infestations to Modern Delicacies

Locusts: A species that has existed since Biblical times and beyond.

Although some locust species have gone extinct, others continue to thrive. They may seem harmless in their solitary state, but when they form a swarm, they can cause immense agricultural losses. While instances of locust infestations are fewer nowadays, their historical impact on millions of lives worldwide is worth noting.

The Chinese Famine Connection

A fascinating example comes from China in 1958. In an attempt to eliminate a perceived pest problem, the Chinese authorities killed thousands of locusts. Two years later, a swarm attacked the region, resulting in massive crop destruction. The situation escalated into a famine that claimed over 20 million lives. Experts attribute this to the killing of the insects’ natural predators.

Locusts as a Delicacy and Pest Control

Despite their destructive potential, locusts are a beloved delicacy in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. They can be smoked, dried, or fried depending on regional preferences. Historically, eating locusts was an effective method of controlling their infestation.

The Size and Impact of Locust Swarms

Locust swarms can contain billions of insects. For instance, a 192 billion locust swarm was recorded in Northeast Kenya in 2020. Covering three times the size of New York City and consuming food equal to that needed by 90 million people, these swarms can cause significant damage.

Interesting Locust Facts and Trivia

A researcher recently discovered that rubbing a locust’s hind legs for five seconds every minute for four hours can make them produce a sound. Kosher laws allow the consumption of locusts, as they can destroy crops and provide sustenance when necessary.

Historical Locust Infestations

In the early 21st century, Africa experienced a major locust infestation affecting countries such as Sudan, Niger, and Mali. Following heavy rains that created favorable conditions for swarming, the insects devastated farms, causing massive losses. They later migrated to Morocco and Algeria before crossing to Israel and Jordan.

Locusts in North America: Extinct or Just Missing?

Before they became extinct, the Rocky Mountain locusts once covered vast areas in North America. With swarms measuring 1,800 miles long and 110 miles wide and containing 13 trillion insects, they were a formidable force. However, their extinction in 1902 was largely due to human activities, such as irrigation, livestock grazing, and beaver elimination.

Locusts in Religious Texts

Historical records show that locusts have been around since ancient times. They are mentioned in religious texts such as the Bible and Quran, with the Egyptians even carving their images on tombs between 2470 and 2220 BC.

Modern Locust Control Measures

Thanks to modern advancements, instances of locust infestations are now more manageable. Experts can monitor and detect the insects before they reach swarming stages, limiting their impact on crops.

Locusts versus Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers and locusts are closely related, with locusts being a phase of grasshopper development resulting from hormonal changes. Both species share features such as the cuticle, which makes them waterproof and resistant to liquid insecticides.

Locust Behavior: Gregarious versus Solitary

Individually, locusts are relatively harmless. However, when they form swarms, they undergo a metamorphosis that triggers behavioral and psychological changes, making them destructive agricultural pests. Their color also shifts to brown during this phase.

Hello, I'm Jacob! Welcome to my daily facts post! Today, I've got some exciting facts to share with you. Would you like to learn more about me? Click here to find out!
Back To Top