Locust Attack: Predisposing Factors, Scale Of Damage & Treatments

Just like the name sounds scary, locust attacks are usually highly destructive.

Here, humans aren’t the target, but plants are. This is considered a pestilence or plague due to its severity as these insects can decimate crops of all kinds within a short period.

This poses serious problems to farmers as well as to food security.

In this article, we’ll be discussing all locust attacks. If you live in attack-prone areas, you may want to know more about what this problem is all about.

Also to be covered is information on how best to resolve the problem.

In a nutshell, we’re discussing the problem to provide solutions.

Temperature Plays a Role in Locust Activity

Locust activity is influenced by temperature.

The optimal body temperature of these insects is between 35 to 40 degrees C. This is the temperature at which they’re most active and destructive to plants or crops and shrubbery.

Less optimal temperature conditions for locusts are those below 15 degrees C.

Their destructive activity declines below 20 degrees C and ceases completely as temperatures drop below 15 degrees C. This tells a lot about the seasonal nature of locust attacks.

Such attacks are more common during certain times of the year where temperature conditions are ideal.

Volume of Damage

When it comes to the volume of damage caused by locust activity, such is considered significant. Some studies estimate that locust nymphs alone can eat around 100 to 450 mg of green vegetation per day.

For the adults, the damage volume is much higher with around 0.2 g of green vegetation per day.

So, a swarm of locusts numbering 100 per square meter is likely to consume around 200kg per hectares per day. Such figures are scary because locust attacks could occur when you least expect them.

Within a short time, locust swarms can turn green vegetation into a shadow of itself.

Are Toxins Involved?

When a locust attack occurs, it leads to a situation where crops are not only damaged but some of these plants die off. This has led to erroneous assumptions about toxins being involved or injected by these pests when they feed on these crops.

The reality is quite different though.

It all boils down to the growth stage of the plant as well as the extent to which it’s eaten. Plants have growth points from which proper development occurs.

When these growth points are chewed on during a locust attack, it kills the plant. This is why you find some plants dying out after a locust swarm or attack.

The Scale of Locust Attack Matters

One of the things you need to figure out when dealing with locust attacks is the scale of damage.

For yard damage, this is mostly considered small scale and not a full-blown attack similar to those that occur with large swathes of field or commercial crops.

For a small-scale attack, you can take a variety of measures ranging from the application of lawn granules, chemical, and organic sprays. So, how are these control treatments applied and what time of year is best for applying such?

Let’s have a look at the treatment methods.

  • Granule Treatments for Locust Damage

The granule treatment for locust damage is mostly aimed at killing off nymphs as they emerge from eggs. This is considered an effective preventive measure.

Bifen granules do a great job in killing off these nymphs by slowly releasing toxins that poison newly hatched locusts or nymphs.

It’s a well-known fact that locust activity attracts other locusts to a location. This is caused by scent released during the destructive activity.

With Bifen granules, their destructive activity is arrested as nymphs do not get the chance of causing damage. They’re killed as soon as they emerge from eggs.

  • Chemical Sprays

This is another control strategy for locust attacks in yard or lawn areas.

When it comes to chemical sprays used for locust control, there are lots of them to choose from. These range from bone annual tree & shrub insect killer, and Bayer permethrin insecticides just to mention a few.

Most of these chemical insecticides are applied with the help of sprays. Some of these come as concentrates that need to be further diluted before use.

The use instructions for every chemical spray are found on the product label. For best results, such instructions will need to be followed to the letter.

  • Organic Sprays

As the name implies, organic insecticides are natural, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, they’re highly effective for locust control.

Out of the many organic insecticides available are Bio advanced insect killer, Natria Neem Oil Spray, Mighty Mint Insect & Pest Control, and many others.

These are applied to affected plants or vegetation using a spray. The ultimate directions for use to follow should be those on the product label.

By spraying as directed, you get the best results and can ward off or resolve locust swarms or presence within your yard.

Climatic Conditions Could Cause or Worsen Locust Attack

In 2018, a phenomenon occurred where warm waters developed in the western Indian oceans.

0Scientists attributed such to climate change. A lot of rain resulted in multiple cyclones occurring over the Arabian Peninsula and East African regions.

Such climatic events created the perfect conditions for locusts to thrive. Reproduction was rapid, with corresponding damage due to increased locust attacks.

Large Scale Locust Attack Requires a Different Approach

There are situations where locust attack is widespread.

In other words, these pests destroy vegetation within a wide area. In such cases, the locust swarm is quite large. Plus, it mostly involves crops which result in heavy losses of agricultural produce.

It’s impractical to want to carry out treatment yourself as you might not be well equipped for that. You should adopt a more comprehensive approach by calling pest control services to help with extermination.

This approach is mostly categorized as commercial treatment.

Locust attack is highly problematic with lots of damage resulting. We’ve provided further insight into what goes on and how to handle or resolve such situations.

The best approach is to have professional pest management services get rid of the problem.

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