Interesting facts about locusts

Posted on Mar 12, 2022      411

Swarms of locusts can pose a serious threat to agriculture even now. These insects are incredibly voracious, and their enormous swarms devastate entire fields in a matter of hours. Fighting this plague is extremely difficult, and the invasion of huge grasshopper relatives can turn into trouble for an entire region.

Facts about locusts

  • One swarm of locusts can number approximately 50-60 billion. Such a swarm eats in one day about 200 thousand tons of plant food, which is equal to its own mass.
  • They are characterized by a special musical ability. Male locusts can use their hind legs to sing up to four different “songs” to attract a mate.
  • In ancient times, these insects were the major threat to crops of cultivated plants.

  • There are over 10,000 species of locusts worldwide. These voracious insects are considered being the biggest plant pests.
  • These insects can be found on every continent of the globe except Antarctica.
  • Those unlucky enough to be born into overpopulation and a poor diet turn into what is known as a herd form. They grow wings and begin their migration, devouring everything in their path.
  • Swarms can fly up to 15-16 km/h, covering hundreds of kilometers.
  • Some locust species prefer to settle in areas covered with dense grassy thickets near bodies of water. Other species live in desert and semi-desert areas among rocky placers covered with sparse shrubs and grass.
  • In 1875, the United States recorded the most terrifying plague of locusts ever recorded. Vast hordes of insects suddenly appeared in the state of Texas and headed west, but a short time later, having caused incredible devastation, disappeared for unknown reasons.
  • When locusts congregate en masse, these insects rub their bodies against each other for extended periods of time. From the long rubbing of a special place on the insect’s foot, an impulse is sent to its brain with the information: “There are too many individuals in one place, food will soon run out, so it is necessary to huddle together and move around in search of new food.”
  • The first reference to locusts can be found in Sumerian annals written about 8,000 years ago.
  • Swarms of locusts sometimes travel up to 200-300 kilometers without setting off or resting.
  • This insect’s search for food is guided by color. Green means edible. An experiment was conducted: insects were placed in an enclosed space, and after all the green color edibles were eaten, the individuals tried to eat their green counterparts.
  • Locusts can move on foot; in one day, a swarm can travel up to 15-20 kilometers.
  • When the locusts’ wings rub against each other, squeaking noises are produced. The sound effects produced by a large swarm resemble thunderclaps.
  • In some countries, locusts are eaten and even preserved. They are a low-fat, high-protein dietary food.
  • In 1988, scientists recorded the flight of swarms of locusts from Africa to the Caribbean islands.
  • Some species of these insects have become extinct over the past few centuries.

  • The color of locusts does not depend on genes, but on the environment. Even individuals of the same offspring raised in different environments will differ in coloration.
  • Single, sedentary locusts have little appetite and eat in moderation. A single locust can eat as little as 300 grams of plant food in its lifetime.
  • A female locust lays eggs in loose, moist soil. This happens in spring, when the soil has warmed up sufficiently. During her life, the female locust is able to lay up to 400 eggs.
  • A locust swarm can cover an area of over 1,000 square kilometers. This is larger than the area of some countries in the world.
  • In areas with tropical climates, locusts reproduce year-round, and in temperate areas only in summer.
  • After they lay their fertilized eggs in the soil, the adult locusts die.
  • The locusts develop rapidly. In just 40 days, after passing several molts, the larva becomes an adult insect with wings, and it can produce offspring. In warm region’s development occurs in just two weeks and goes without a break for wintering.
  • Cannibalism is characteristic of these insects. During long migrations, a swarm of locusts eats weakened individuals.