Are locust plagues unstoppable?

11 min Source: TED TALK
PME All levels


A single swarm of locusts can number in the billions and eat and destroy vast amounts of field crops.


This TED talk makes the following points:

A desert locust swarm has no leader or strategic plan; its only goals are to eat, breed, and move on.

Locusts are infamous for their massive swarms and capacity to turn pastures and farms into barren wastelands.

Desert locusts lay eggs in damp soil in arid regions.

They will spend a few weeks foraging for plants during the dry weather before growing wings, reproducing, and dying.

When an area receives an abundance of rain, more vegetation grows, leading to large groups feeding closely together. 

These groups merge into bands of millions, which virtually eat all plant life in their path.

A swarm can travel up to 150 km a day and can also cross large bodies of water. 

In 1988, a swarm managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean. 

Their habitat spans some of the world's poorest countries.

By consuming crops and pastures, these insects directly endanger 10% of humanity.

Note the link to Transcript Locust Plagues.

You might also find the following references useful:

Dec 2020 Scientific Research Geospatial Opinion on Unusual Locust Swarm Invasions during Amphan Cyclone

Jan 2021 ABC News Landholders on the look out as plague locusts descend on green pastures after years of drought

Mar 2021 World economic forum Farmers fight back: Making animal feed from a locust plague

Apr 2021 Australian Government Australian plague locust

Nov 2021 Amazing Facts Grasshopper plague USA The weather in the West is the latest sign of a crisis