After Rajasthan, Are Locusts Heading To Delhi? Here's What We Know

Akshita Jain
Swarms of locust attack in the residential areas of Jaipur on May 25, 2020.

After locusts attacked crops in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, other states like Chhattisgarh and Delhi were also put on alert. 

Earlier reports said swarms of locusts which entered some residential areas of Jaipur on Monday could move towards Delhi if wind conditions are favourable, according. The Times of India said that IMD is monitoring the meteorological conditions to help the agriculture ministry in determining where the locusts are headed. 

Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD and head of Regional Weather Forecasting Centre in Delhi, was quoted in the report as saying that wind direction is favourable at the moment, “largely remaining northwesterly”.

However, a change in wind direction has helped Delhi avoid the locusts for now, according to a Business Today report on Thursday. The South Eastern direction of the wind has taken the locust swarms towards Madhya Pradesh, a senior official of India’s Locust Control Office (LCO) was quoted as saying in the report. 

This is the second round of locust attacks in India with the first one being in the December-February months over 2019 and 2020. The desert locust is one of about a dozen species of short-horned grasshoppers that are known to change their behavior and form swarms of adults or bands of hoppers, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

How big are swarms?

Locust swarms can vary from less than one square kilometre to several hundred square kilometres, FAO said, and there can be at least 40 million and sometimes as many as 80 million locust adults in each square kilometre of swarm.

The organisation said that a desert locust adult can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day, that is about two grams every day. “This means that they not only devour valuable standing crops, but can also devastate livelihoods of those associated with the agricultural supply chain,” Hindustan Times said in its editorial. 

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