Biblical invasion’ swarm of a million locusts devastate 5, 000 acres of crops in Sardinia

‘Biblical invasion’ swarm of a million locusts devastate 5,000 acres of crops in Sardinia

A DEVASTATING swarm of locusts have wrecked up to 5,000 acres of crops and livestock in Sardinia.

A swarm of locusts have wrecked up to 2,000 hectares of crops and livestock in Sardinia (Image: GETTY [stock])

The attack of a “carpets of locusts” is being described as a “biblical” invasion, by Italian newspaper La Nuova Sardegna. The plague of short-horned grasshoppers is thought to be one of the worst in 60 years and has caused havoc across farms and homes in the central province of Nuoro. In a statement, the Italian farming association Coldiretti stated there was up to a million locusts in the countryside.

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It added: “The locusts emerge on uncultivated land, but then they go to cultivated land to eat.”

Leonardo Salis, president of association, said the insects had been “devouring everything they encounter” and had even left “animals without grassland”.

He added the pests risk “seriously compromising part of the harvest”.

The plague of short-horned grasshoppers is thought to be one of the worst in 60 years (Image: GETTY)

It is understood up to 12 farms have been affected with 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) destroyed.

Mr Salis warned locusts have also caused “considerable damage” to other parts of the Mediterranean island.

Farmers have tried to lay bales of hay in order to try and protect their livestock.

The association has sought help from the Government to try and tackle the problem but acknowledged the damage may have already been done.

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Mr Salis added: “We have turned to institutions at all levels – municipality, provincial and regional – to tackle the problem, despite knowing that for the current season we are late.”

Alexandre Latchininsky of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation could not pinpoint a reason the surprise invasion.

Locusts have been a thorn for many in the industry and usually lay their eggs in the Autumn before coming to life between June and August.

However the farming association believes the swarm has been spiked by a rise in temperature at the beginning of the month following a cooler May than usual.

Worst invasion of locusts in 60 years hits Sardinia

The plague has been described as the worst of its kind in six decades. Vegetation has been severely hit and the industry fears it may be too late to save this year’s crop.

Millions of locusts have invaded the Italian island of Sardinia, seriously affecting farmers’ livestock and crop production.

Italian agricultural organization Coldiretti has pleaded for government assistance in fighting the plague.

“We are walking on locust carpets,” Coldiretti said in a statement.

The locusts have destroyed 2,500 hectares (6,200 acres) of agricultural land in the province of Nuoro, between the towns of Ottana and Orani.

Locusts are seen here in Mamoiada, Sardinia, in the worst plague to hit the island in 60 years

Coldiretti fears it may be too late for this year’s crop, but preventative measures should be put in place for next year.

“We had droughts in 2017 and a lot of rain in 2018, the ideal climate for locusts to emerge from fallow land and then move to cultivated fields to eat,” Michele Arbau from the lobby group said. “There is nothing we can do about it this year.”

The invasion of the tropical grasshoppers has been described by experts as the worst in the region in 60 years.

jsi/msh (Reuters, AP)

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Locusts destroy crops in ‘worst invasion in Sardinia for 60 years’

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A huge plague of locusts is wreaking havoc on the Italian island of Sardinia in the worst insect invasion in more than 60 years, local media report.

Large swarms are destroying crops and invading homes in Ottana and Orani in the central province of Nuoro.

More than 2,000 hectares of farmland has been destroyed by “blankets” of the insects, reports said.

The locust invasion has been linked to a recent rise in temperatures after months of cooler weather on the island.

“There are millions in the countryside,” the Italian farmers’ association Coldiretti warned in a statement on Monday.

“The locusts emerge on uncultivated land, but then they go to cultivated land to eat,” the group said, adding that there was little that could now be done to remedy the situation.

At least 12 farms have been affected, with animal grazing pastures ruined and “little left to harvest”, Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported.

Locusts usually appear on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia in the summer months, between June and August.

On the mainland, Northern Italy is also battling a plague of brown marmorated stink bugs, which are destroying swathes of fruit trees, Coldiretti added.

Grasshopper Plague of 1874

Following the Civil War, many settlers came to Kansas in hopes of finding inexpensive land and a better life. By 1874 many of these newly-arrived families had broken the prairie and planted their crops. During the spring and early summer months of that year the state experienced sufficient rains. Eagerly the farmers looked forward to the harvest. However, during the heat of summer a drought occurred. Yet this was not the most devastating thing to happen to the farmers that summer.

The invasion began in late July when without warning millions of grasshoppers, or Rocky Mountain locusts, descended on the prairies from the Dakotas to Texas. The insects arrived in swarms so large they blocked out the sun and sounded like a rainstorm. They ate crops out of the ground, as well as the wool from live sheep and clothing off people’s backs. Paper, tree bark, and even wooden tool handles were devoured. Hoppers were reported to have been several inches deep on the ground and locomotives could not get traction because the insects made the rails too slippery.

As a whole, Kansans refused to be defeated. The settlers did their best to stop the hoppers by raking them into piles, like leaves, and burning them but these efforts were in vain because of the sheer numbers of the pests. Inventive citizens built hopper dozers or grasshopper harvesters to combat future visitations. The hoppers usually stayed from two days to a week and then left as they had come, on the wind. The areas hit the worst were where most of the settlers were new arrivals, not having had the time to establish themselves in their new homes. The needs of the newly-arrived immigrants in the western counties of Kansas were greater than the more settled eastern portion. They needed grain for their next year’s crops and to feed their work animals. They also needed provisions and clothing to make it through the coming winter.

Governor Thomas Osborn called a special session of the legislature, which convened on September 15, 1874, hoping to find a way to help Kansans survive the calamity and relieve the destitution left by the grasshoppers. The legislature determined that it did not have the power to take money directly from the state’s treasury to help with the emergency. It did approve $73,000 in bonds to provide aid. The plea for help went across America. The rest of the nation responded to pleas for aid by sending money and supplies, which were often hauled free of charge by the railroads. Soon aid for the destitute Kansans began to arrive. Railroads provided free transportation of the barrels, boxes, and bales of supplies such as beans, pork, and rice. America’s farmers even donated rail cars full of barley and corn to assist Kansans with the next year’s planting.

Entry: Grasshopper Plague of 1874

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state’s history.

Date Created: June 2003

Date Modified: October 2016

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Cloudy With A Chance Of Locusts: Saudi Arabia invaded by grasshoppers

Acres of land covered by the creatures.

Parts of Saudi Arabia have been invaded by massive locust attacks earlier this year, and it hasn’t stopped yet. Currently, gigantic waves of these insects have been storming the kingdom, and they’re as huge as they can get.

The phenomenon is expected to go on for two more months, so the government has warned people against trying to catch or consume the creatures.

In an official statement on the matter, the country’s Ministry of Environment said it effectively fought off parts of the most recent attack in several of the kingdom’s cities. However, it continues to affect vast areas across Saudi Arabia including Barida city.

Videos capturing the locust invasion have naturally gone viral on social media and show acres of land entirely covered by the creatures.

People are worried the attacks won’t end anytime soon, and have been venting online. Others are pretty excited about the massive number of locusts arriving in the kingdom and want to make the most out of the situation by cooking and eating them.

Though locusts are considered a popular dish by some communities in the country (and are often sold for pretty high prices), locals have been advised not to consume any at the time being since the creatures have been sprayed with pesticides.

Bible prophecy? Wild swarm of locust in Saudi Arabia proves ‘biblical plagues are BACK’

AN INVASIVE swarm of locusts devouring crops in Saudi Arabia is proof of the 10 biblical plagues of Egypt returning in full force, a Christian evangelist has shockingly claimed.

Swarms of the destructive grasshopper locust were spotted this week crossing the border between Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Swarms of locusts were seen descending on the town of Tafilah in South Jordan, which is a hub for olive and fruit agriculture. According to The National, the situation was dire enough on Monday, May 6, for Jordanian authorities to deploy the airforce to spray pesticides. And on May 3, Locust Watch, the official locust swarm tracker of the United Nations (UN), has warned springtime locust breeding has intensified over the past few weeks in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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Pastor Paul Begley, a Christian evangelist from West Lafayette in Indiana, US, believes the swarms of “biblical proportions” are tied to doomsday prophecies.

The firebrand preacher firmly believes humanity is already living in the end times, as described in the Bible.

He has now claimed online scenes from the Old Testament’s Book of Exodus are unfolding before his very eyes.

Pastor Begley said: “Are you serious? Locusts? Biblical plagues have returned.

“What? Well, just like something out of the Bible folks, swarms, and I mean swans of millions of locusts have darkened the skies in Saudi Arabia, creating a scene out of the Bible.

Bible prophecy: A Christian evangelist has claimed the plagues of Egypt have returned (Image: GETTY)

“It’s a plague of biblical proportions. It’s cataclysmic even.”

Locusts? Biblical plagues have returned

Pastor Paul Begley

In the Bible’s Book of Exodus, a plague of devastating locust was called down on Egypt as punishment for enslaving the Jewish people.

The locust plague was one of 10 brought down upon the ancient nation by God and his chosen servant Moses.

The other plagues included pestilence of all livestock, turning the waters of the Nile into blood and swarms of frogs invading Egypt.

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Ultimately, God’s final plague saw the death of Egypt’s firstborn sons as the ultimate punishment for the Pharaoh’s transgression against the Israelites.

The Book of Exodus reads: “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.’

“So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the LORD made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers.

“Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again.”

According to the United Nations, locusts are the oldest migratory pest in the world and can cover vast distances in swarms.

The Desert Locust, Schistocerca gregaria, is the most dangerous of all locust species and can affect up to 65 percent of the world’s poorest countries.

The pest can cover distances of up to 93 miles (150km) a day, and given the right conditions, can multiply 20-fold in as little as three months.

Adult locusts can easily eat their own weight in crops and vegetation every single day.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization warned: “If infestations are not detected and controlled, devastating plagues can develop that often take several years and hundreds of millions of dollars to bring under control with severe consequences on food security and livelihoods.”

Bible prophecy: Locusts devour entire fields of crops when they swarm (Image: GETTY)

Bible prophecy: The dangerous grasshopper breeds in the springtime (Image: GETTY)

What were the 10 plagues of Egypt?

Because the Egyptian Pharaoh refused to set the Israelites free, God sent 10 terrifying plagues upon Egypt through his chosen messenger Moses.

1. The plague of blood

2. The plague of frogs

3. The plague of lice

4. The plague of flies

5. The plague of livestock

6. The plague of boils

7. The plague of hail

8. The plague of locusts

9. The plague of darkness

10. The death of the firstborn

The 10 plagues are outlined in the Old Testament’s Book of Exodus, which details the Israelites escape from Egypt.

The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Old Testament as well as the Hebrew Bible.

The scripture follows directly after the Book of Genesis, which describes God’s creation of the word.

In the Book of Exodus, Moses leads the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and towards freedom in the Promised Land.

Grasshopper invasion

Stanley Jensen (left) believes he knows why grasshoppers thrive in dry years. Stan is a plant scientist not an entomologist (insect scientist), but he believes that there are natural fungi that control the grasshopper populations in wet years. In dry years, they thrive.

Walter Schmitt (right) remembers the grasshoppers chewing on the wooden tongues of horse-drawn equipment to get the salt from the sweat that had landed on it. Others remember hoppers chewing on hoe handles.

Elroy Hoffman remembers being hit in the face by grasshoppers when he was working on a tractor. “That would just knock you coo-coo,” Elroy says. Others have told stories of cars squishing so many hoppers that the roads became slick. There were reports that trains couldn’t get up hills because the hoppers’ bodies “greased” the tracks.

Like all insects, grasshoppers go through changes in their life cycles. These changes are called “metamorphosis.” About 12 percent of all insects go through incomplete metamorphosis. Grasshoppers are in this category. Basically, their lives begin when the female lays her eggs. These insect species will hatch into “nymphs” that look like small adults but usually don’t have wings. Nymphs will grow and shed their “exoskeletons” – the hard outer casings of their bodies – four to eight times before becoming adults. Finally, the adults arrive complete with wings and the ability to reproduce. Complete metamorphosis takes place in the other 88 percent of insect species. Here, an egg will hatch into a “larva” that usually looks like a worm rather than the adult insect. Caterpillers, maggots and grubs are all larval stages of insects. A larva molts its skin several times and grows slightly larger. Just before it enters the “pupa” stage, a larva makes a cocoon around itself. During this stage, it doesn’t eat. Instead, it body grows into the adult shape with wings, legs and adult organs. These changes can take from four days to several months. Finally, the “adult” stage emerges from the cocoon. Below is a representation of the “incomplete metamorphosis” of a grasshopper.

Written by Claudia Reinhardt and Bill Ganzel, the Ganzel Group. First written and published in 2003.

Grasshopper Plagues, 1873–1877

Minnesota locusts (grasshoppers), c.1870s. Photograph by Jacoby’s Art Gallery.

On June 12, 1873, farmers in southwestern Minnesota saw what looked like a snowstorm coming towards their fields from the west. Then they heard a roar of beating wings and saw that what seemed to be snowflakes were in fact grasshoppers. In a matter of hours, knee-high fields of grass and wheat were eaten to the ground by hungry hoppers.

The grasshoppers’ dramatic descent was just the beginning. For five years, from 1873 to 1877, grasshoppers destroyed wheat, oat, corn, and barley fields in Minnesota and surrounding states. In 1876 alone, grasshoppers visited forty Minnesota counties and destroyed 500,000 acres of crops.

Grasshoppers, or what scientists call Rocky Mountain locusts, were not new to Minnesota, but in the past, they had stayed for only a year or two. In 1873, they moved into Minnesota from Dakota and Iowa, and they laid their eggs deep in the soil. Minnesota farmers did their best to destroy the grasshopper eggs, so there would be fewer grasshoppers to feast on their crops the next year. But 1874 was worse than 1873. The grasshopper eggs hatched, and more grasshoppers flew in from the west. Each year until 1877, the grasshoppers spread further into Minnesota. Since they moved in separate units, they destroyed large sections of crops in some areas and left other areas untouched.

Minnesota farmers tried many things to get rid of the grasshoppers. They beat the grasshoppers with flails. They dragged heavy ropes through their fields, and plowed and burned their fields. They raised birds and chickens to eat the grasshoppers. They dug ditches that they hoped the grasshoppers would be unable to jump over. They filled these ditches with coal tar and set them on fire, thinking that the smoke might drive away the hoppers if the ditches did not. In later years, farmers made “hopper dozers,” which consisted of sheet metal covered in coal tar or molasses. They dragged the hopper dozers through their fields, catching grasshoppers in pans and then emptying the pans into fires. None of these efforts were successful.

County governments instituted efforts to rid the state of grasshoppers and to help destitute farmers, but counties provided much less help than farmers needed. Rural counties were less prepared to provide help to the poor than cities were. Rural areas also lacked the private charitable organizations that assisted the urban poor. In addition, despite extensive damage to crops, some questioned whether farmers’ crops had really been devastated and whether farmers were really in need.

The state, governed by three different men during the grasshopper plague years, also failed to provide adequate relief to affected farmers. Under governors Horace Austin and Cushman K. Davis, the state provided small sums of direct, state-funded relief, but the governors focused their efforts on encouraging charitable giving to the cause. Unlike his predecessors, Governor John S. Pillsbury did not call for any direct, state-funded relief for farmers. Elected in 1876, Pillsbury believed that poverty was a fact of life on the frontier and that providing relief would make farmers dependent on the state. Instead, Pillsbury focused on efforts to eradicate the grasshoppers. This included a controversial bounty measure that required every able-bodied man in affected counties to destroy grasshopper eggs for one day a week, for five straight weeks.

In the summer of 1877, the grasshoppers left just as quickly as they had arrived. An April snowstorm damaged many of their eggs, which encouraged farmers to redouble their efforts to destroy the grasshoppers. The surviving grasshopper eggs hatched, but by August, the grasshoppers had flown away. Many attributed the end of the grasshopper plague to divine intervention, since Governor Pillsbury had proclaimed April 26 a day of prayer, after receiving many requests to do so.

It was another decade before swarms of grasshoppers returned to Minnesota, and it was not until the 1930s that the state experienced another plague like that of the 1870s. But the grasshopper plagues of the 1870s left a mark on Minnesota culture, inspiring fiction like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937) and Ole Edvart Rølvaag’s Giants in the Earth (originally published in Norwegian in 1927 as Verdens Grøde).

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