Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia are being hit hard by massive clouds of locusts — would you believe a mass of insects 37 x 25 miles in area sweeping across East Africa? And that’s only one of multiple swarms.
Also troubling — this is a side-effect of climate change.
The swarms are reaching such an unusual size now because of cyclones that rained on the deserts of Oman last year, the FAO’s senior locust forecasting officer Keith Cressman tells Reuters’ Nita Bhalla.
“We know that cyclones are the originators of swarms – and in the past 10 years, there’s been an increase in the frequency of cyclones in the Indian Ocean,” Cressman tells Reuters. Eight cyclones occurred in 2019.
“Normally there’s none, or maybe one. So this is very unusual,” Cressman says. “It’s difficult to attribute to climate change directly, but if this trend of increased frequency of cyclones in Indian Ocean continues, then certainly that’s going to translate to an increase in locust swarms in the Horn of Africa.”
I used to raise Schistocerca, and they are amazingly, scarily prolific when given good conditions, which is what these cyclones are providing.
They’re going to need a lot of spiders — big spiders. Locusts are impressively large and well-armored.