After overrunning the crop fields in Rajasthan, Gujarat and parts of Madhya Pradesh, the locust swarm is now making it's presence felt in Maharashtra. The latest reports from Nagpur suggest that herds of locust swarm have attacked orange orchards in Ramtek and Mauda.
These herds were also seen in Nagpur's Katol and Narkhed regions. The flight pattern of these hungry locust swarms can be traced looking at the direction the wind is blowing.
Herds of locust swarms have also been seen in Bhandara, Amravati, Wardha and Vidarbha districts of the state of Maharashtra. This is for the first time after 1990 that a herd of locust swarm has reached as far as Vidharba.
Divisional Joint Director of Agriculture, Ravi Bhosle, told PTI that large swarms of locusts stretching up to 17 kms in length and 2 to 2.5 km in width entered the farms in Fetri, Khangaon in Katol in Nagpur district and in Ashti taluka in Wardha district on Saturday night.
Why locusts are a massive threat
Scientists have warned that this overrunning of lucust swarm could mark the biggest such incursion in 27 years. While the arrival of such herds in India is nothing new, the number of swarms that have come in this year is unusually high, the scientists have said.
The locust devours leaves, flowers, fruits and tree barks. A small locust can eat as much as 25 camels or 10 elephants in a day.
This challenge has been further amplified given the situation we find ourselves in because of the lockdown imposed in light of the coronavirus outbreak. At the traditional incursion hotspots, the plant protection teams armed with pesticides and trained to weed out the infestations were handicapped by the lockdown restrictions and therefore were able to initiate control activities at 213 of the 342 spots by May 15.