After swarms of locusts entered residential areas in Jaipur on Monday, at least 10 districts in Uttar Pradesh were put on alert on Tuesday.
The locusts entered India through Rajasthan on 11 April and have affected at least five states in India. Swarms have also entered Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Delhi has also been put on alert, Hindustan Times said.
A government spokesperson told PTI that a swarm of locusts was seen in the jungles of Jhansi on Sunday and 40% of it was destroyed after chemicals were sprayed by government teams.
Locust attacks this year, CNBC TV18 said, have come earlier than usual. These incidents generally occur in July to October period, the report added, but the low wind pressure creating cyclones and storms has hastened the phenomenon.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation says that locust swarms can vary in size from less than one square kilometre to several hundred square kilometres. While the insects do not harm humans or animals, they can cause significant damage to crops. The FAO says that a one square km swarm contains about 40 million locusts, which can eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people.
Experts told NDTV that unless controlled, the swarms could destroy crops worth thousands of crores, which could plunge farmers into an even bigger crisis at a time the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted supply chains and put livelihoods at risk.
Uttar Pradesh: Locust swarms have arrived in Babina, Jhansi district. Bharat Singh, a farmer says, "These locusts destroy our crops". (24.05.20) pic.twitter.com/duGWOT0lbX— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 25, 2020
#WATCH Madhya Pradesh: Farmers in Budhni and Nasrullaganj of Sehore district beat utensils in a bid to scare away swarms of locusts that attacked their farms. Disinfectants are also being sprinkled on trees and crops to protect them from locusts.