A punishing drought in the U.S. West is drying up waterways, sparking wildfires and leaving farmers scrambling for water. Next up: a plague of voracious grasshoppers. Federal agriculture officials are launching what could become their largest grasshopper-killing campaign since the 1980s amid an outbreak of the drought-loving insects that cattle ranchers fear will strip bare public and private rangelands.
In central Montana’s Phillips County, more than 50 miles (80 kilometres) from the nearest town, Frank Wiederrick said large numbers of grasshoppers started showing up on prairie surrounding his ranch in recent days.
Already they’re beginning to denude trees around his house. “They’re everywhere,” Wiederrick said.
It's an economic and social nightmare and there are no natural predators to stop them except huge amounts of poisoning which is killing many other animals.
Those in rural areas affected by the mouse plague are being forced to tie a string around their pants to stop the rodents from running up their legs. Country towns in NSW have been gripped for the past nine months by a severe stomach-churning plague of mice, seeing schools, homes and hospitals overrun as farmers lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in crops. Entire towns have been suffocated by the pungent smell left by the rodents in Australia’s worst mice outbreak in more than 30 years.
Thousands of farmers in Meru county are counting huge losses as desert locusts are ravaging their farms daily. The locusts come at a time when most of the produce grown in eastern Kenya is ready to be harvested. These farmers are among hundreds of thousands from 14 other Kenyan counties who are affected by a second wave of the locust plague that is two times deadlier than the one that hit Kenya in 2020. The government said it deployed spray and surveillance aircraft to help deal with the pest and noted it has enough resources and is better prepared than in 2020 to fight.
Agriculture Minister Peter Munya told reporters that more than 75 swarms have been reported in Kenya.
A square kilometre swarm can eat as much food in a day as 35,000 people.
A new wave of the desert locust invasion currently destroying crops and pastures in northern Kenya threatens to spiral out of control, having spread to more than 15 counties in the country. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported immature swarms in northern and central counties, and in Kilifi County in the upper Coast region. There are a few small immature swarms formed from previous breeding in the coastal region near Lamu and probably in adjacent areas of southern Somalia. But as many swarms are highly mobile and the same swarm can be sighted several times.
Sunday, 17 January 2021 Desert Locust situation update: Locust swarms destroyed an estimated 200,000ha of cropland in Ethiopia in 2020, marking the worst invasion the country had seen in 25 years: Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Eritrea and Yemen have swarms arriving
The Somali Regional State has announced that locust invasions are causing widespread destruction to crops and grazing lands in all but one of the region's administrative zones.
The infestation, which has affected 10 zones in the region, is spreading quickly to border areas, according to Abdullahi Yusuf Adem, deputy head of the bureau.
The swarms have formed as a result of favourable environmental conditions brought on at the end of November 2020 by cyclone Gati in the Indian Ocean, the strongest tropical cyclone to have ever made landfall in Somalia.
2020 Locust Plague