IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Explained: Where the locusts are, and where they head next

4th August, 2020 Agriculture


  • Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to declare the locust outbreak in the state a “national disaster”.

What happened to the swarms?

  • After the fresh swarms arrived in April, much before their usual sighting time of May, the absence of standing crops led to the swarms migrating in search of green fodder.
  • Once the monsoon started, sightings became rarer with swarms flying back to Rajasthan.

What took them back to Rajasthan?

  • The reason behind this can be found in locusts’ egg-laying habits. The female drills a hole around 10-15 cm into the ground and lays eggs in pods. And sandy soil is most conducive for this.
  • Swarms that had returned to Rajasthan earlier have completed their lifecycle and young hoppers have emerged from eggs there.

How serious is the situation?

  • LWO scientists say localised breeding should not be a concern. For the first and second growth stages or instars, the hoppers cannot fly.
  • They crawl out of their pods in search of food and can be easily controlled through spraying of chemicals or mechanical means.