Recently, swarms of locusts have been sighted unusually even in urban areas of Rajasthan as well as in the parts of Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, locusts are entering urban areas to search for food.
- Locusts are being seen in urban areas not historically associated with their sightings, such as Jaipur, MP’s Gwalior, Morena and Sheopur, and recently stray swarms in Maharashtra’s Amravati, Nagpur and Wardha.
- The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is a short-horned grasshopper. Innocuous when solitary, locusts undergo a behavioural change when their population builds up rapidly.
- They enter the ‘gregarious phase’ by forming huge swarms that can travel up to 150 km per day, eating up every bit of greenery on their way. These insects feed on a large variety of crops. If not controlled, locust swarms can threaten the food security of a country.
- At present countries in the Horn of Africa such as Ethiopia and Somalia are witnessing one of the worst locusts attacks in the last 25 years.
Locust Warning Organization (LWO)
- In order to keep the menace of locust at bay Locust Warning Organization (LWO) has been established. Its headquarter is located in Faridabad.
- Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare is responsible for monitoring, survey and control of Desert Locust in Scheduled Desert Areas mainly in the States of Rajasthan and Gujarat.