India is currently experiencing its worst locust invasion for 25 years as skies above parts of the north of the country have blackened as swarms of bugs soar through the sky. Rajasthan is reportedly the worst affected state.
And now, according to the Guardian, the Locust Warning Organisation has advised people in Delhi to “make a lot of loud noise” so the bugs do not settle and fly past the city.
Earlier this month, the coast of India was struck by Cyclone Amphan and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation believe the movement of locusts was caused by the strong westerly winds.
So far, the millions of locusts have devoured around 50,000 hectares of crops.
Warnings have been raised concerning the summer crops if the locusts are not controlled.
Pesticides have been sprayed by tractors and fire engines to target the bugs in trees.
Farmers have reportedly been playing loud music in the fields in order to stop the locusts from destroying the crops.
An official in Barmer, Rajasthan, said: “We are hoping to contain it in the next 10 days.
“Our officials are out spraying pesticides early in the morning.
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“The swarms are very big and they have migrated from across the border after breeding a month earlier than we were expecting.
“We are lucky that there is no crop in the fields now.
“But the locusts eat up all the green vegetation, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and plants.”
He said an average small locust swarm can eat as much food in a day as about 35,000 people.
The locust invasions come as a heatwave has sent temperatures to 122F (50C) in some places while the capital New Delhi saw its hottest May day since 2002.
India’s Meteorological Department said the hot spell was forecast to last several more days and warned of “severe heatwave conditions in isolated pockets”.
Churu in Rajasthan recorded temperatures of 122F (50C) yesterday while parts of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh sweltered just below that level.
Anshu Sharma of Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society, a non-profit disaster management organisation, said India face a number of challenges in the months ahead.
He said: “We need to be alert and anticipate where this is going next.
“The situation is all the more alarming as it comes at a time when the affected states are already reeling under COVID-19 and the ongoing heatwave.”
Swarms of locusts have spread out into South Asia and East Africa.