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All you need to know about the short-horned grasshoppers locusts

As swarms of locusts enter Katol and Parseoni in Nagpur district of Maharashtra over the last four days it becomes crucial to understand these short-horned grasshoppers called locusts.

All you need to know about the short-horned grasshoppers locusts
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As swarms of locusts enter Katol and Parseoni in Nagpur district of Maharashtra over the last four days, these short-horned grasshoppers have now moved to the neighbouring Bhandara district, an agriculture department, as per officials.

These crop-eating pests had earlier ravaged Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan before entering Maharashtra. The swarms stretching up to 17 kilometres in length had first entered farms in Fetri, Khangaon in Katol in Nagpur district and in Ashti taluka in Wardha district on Saturday night and Sunday where they damaged orange crop and vegetable plantations in some areas, before moving towards Parseoni tehsil on Monday night.

The onset of the locusts has made it crucial for us to understand these species of grasshoppers better. Amit Schandillia from Mumbai took to Twitter to state multiple interesting facts.

Down below are some of those facts noted by him.

  • Once hatched, wingless larvae typically mature into adolescent "hoppers" (since they still can't fly) in about 2 weeks. But should there be enough rains, this can fast-track to days. Hoppers follow the smell of sprouting grass and somewhere along the way, grow wings.
  • Once winged, they take off. Soon, guided by pheromones from fellow locusts, they form into swarms. Riding the wind, a swarm can cover as many as 90 miles a day. Along the way, they breed. A typical locust reaches sexual maturity in about 3 months.
  • That means a new generation every quarter, 20x more locusts with each generation. That's a most conservative estimate. A single swarm can devour up to 200 tons of food in a day and not burp. A single locust is easy to kill.
  • The summer of 2018 brought unprecedented rains to Africa and the Middle East. Lakes appeared in the deserts of Oman. Something happened in those lakes. Locust eggs that had sat dormant for 10 years, 20 years suddenly came to life.

Locusts are essentially any of a grouping of insects (order Orthoptera) that are distributed worldwide. The common name of which generally refers to the group of short-horned grasshoppers that often increase greatly in numbers and migrate long distances in destructive swarms. In Europe, the term locust denotes large acridids, whereas smaller species are called grasshoppers.

In North America, the names locust and grasshopper are used for any acridid. Cicadas (order Homoptera) also may be called locusts, the 17-year “locust” being the 17-year periodic cicada. The grouse (or pygmy) locust is a member of the family Tetrigidae (pygmy grasshopper)

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