Swarms of locusts have arrived in desert regions bordering India and Pakistan. The current population of locust numbers about 10 billion, enough to blacken skies over villages.
In India, there are four species of locusts — desert locust, migratory locust, bombay locust and the tree locust.
88 per cent of the total 1,68,548 hectares of affected farmland have witnessed a severe crop loss of more than 33 per cent leading to damages in crores.
Rajasthan bore the brunt of the locust attacks — 1,49,821 hectares were damaged, of which 1,34,959 hectares sustained severe crop damage of over 33 per cent. In Gujarat, 18,727 hectares of farmland was affected.
The majority of the crops damaged are wheat followed by mustard, oilseed and cumin.
The insects not only causes immense damage to crops on farmland by ravaging leaves, flowers and fruits but they also destroy plants just by their weight as they come in massive numbers.
Even a small swarm of locusts engulfing an area of one square kilometre devours food in a day that can feed as many as 40,000 people.