Everything about desert locusts — and how to control them amid COVID-19 crisis
WHY IN NEWS:
The unprecedented behaviour of desert locusts is a cause of concern, for India is facing the worst locust attack in about 27 years.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Agriculture
For PRELIMS this article will render most easily available solutions for Locust attack.
For MAINS we have to understand the genesis of the issue . Let us dive in !
- DESTRUCTION : Locust invasions are dramatic and sudden — and they destroy everything green that comes in their way.
- GROWTH : Heavy rains triggered the growth of vegetation in arid areas of southern Iran and southwest Pakistan where locusts then grew and bred.
- MIGRATION : These locusts migrated to India in early 2020 and found greener pastures due to pre-monsoon rains in March-May.
- MOVEMENT : Locust are short-horned grasshoppers move together as bands and swarm over long distances crossing over countries and continents rapidly.
- LIFE CYCLE : They take rapid advantage of the climate and geography, survive in temperature range of 0-60 degrees Celsius and prolong or cut short their life cycle.
- SUCCESSION : During the course of one or two successive generations, they change in shape and colour to become bold yellow from the neutral brown.
- FAVOURABLE CONDITIONS : Extended humid conditions gave rise to favourable breeding conditions for locusts for almost nine months, which remained undetected and hence, uncontrolled.
- JANUARY 2019 : first swarms of locusts left the Empty Quarter desert to Yemen, Saudi Arabia and southwest Iran.
- FEBRUARY TO JUNE 2019 : Widespread spring breeding in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran led to the formation of a large numbers of swarms.
- UNSUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS : But control operations were largely unsuccessful in Iran and Yemen.
- JUNE-DECEMBER 2019: Swarms invaded the Indo-Pakistan border from Iran; up to three generations grew in the summer breeding in India.
- GREEN VEGETATION : These extended rains created excellent breeding conditions and led to the development of lush green vegetation in Rajasthan and Gujarat, on which the locusts could feed.
- PINK SWARMS : In October, more locust swarms arrived from the west and laid eggs that upon getting congenial environmental conditions, developed into pink swarms.
COMBATING STRATEGIES: SHORT-TERM MEASURES
- ROBUST APPROACH : A robust approach by the Union government agencies and various departments of states is required for effective desert locust control.
- EARLY STAGE : Locusts are most vulnerable when they are in the hopper stage.
- LIVESTOCK PRECAUTIONS : At the same time, farmers should be advised to not take their livestock for grazing in area being sprayed on with pesticide for at least one week.
- WARNING : The Locust Warning Organisation deals with locust crisis in India.
- RESOURCE MOBILISATION :As part of the locust control measure, the central government deployed multiple resources and established temporary control camps.
- DRONES : Drones will also be used to spray pesticides on tall trees and inaccessible places for effective control of locusts.
- AERIAL SPRAY : Plans to deploy helicopters for aerial spray are afoot.
- TRACKING : The Indian Meteorological Department should provide the wind pattern data for proper tracking of the movement of locust swarms.
- PROTECTIVE GEARS : Some of them include wearing face masks, hand gloves, personal protective equipment, washing hands, observing social distancing and observing personal hygiene to protect.
SOURCES:DOWNTOEARTH |Most Effective Ways To Overcome Locust Attack’s Problem | UPSC
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