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Locust - a dangerous insect - pest

The invasion of a voracious locust since ancient times was considered a terrifying natural disaster. When moving from one place to another, some flocks form huge clouds of insects in the sky, the area of ​​which can reach thousands of square kilometers and number several billion individuals. The pest under the root devours all the vegetation on its way to follow, so after its invasion only the bare earth remains.

Locusts are omnivorous and feeds most actively in the early morning and late evening, eating leaves, flowers, young stems of shoots and fruits of plants. During the day, an adult can cover a distance of fifty (!) Kilometers, which makes it very dangerous in the accumulation of a large number of relatives.

The mass resurgence of the locust and the formation of a large flock of pests occur approximately once every ten to fifteen years. During this period, a huge flock can cover a distance of from three hundred to a thousand kilometers per day (if there is a fair wind) and at the same time occupy an area of ​​about two thousand hectares of land.

For the first time the attack of huge locust flocks is mentioned in the annals of Russia dated 1108. As a result of this invasion, a terrible famine began. They say the trouble does not come alone, and the massive attack of insects repeated in 1094, 1095.1103 and 1195.

In 1824, locusts raged in Kherson, Yekaterinoslav and Tauride provinces.

As part of the fight against this malicious misfortune, Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin was seconded to the South of Ukraine, among other officials. Returning on May 28 from a business trip, the poet handed over to the office a report with the following content:


May 23 - Flew, flew,

May 24 - And the village,

May 25 - Sat, sat,

May 26 - All ate,

May 27 - Once again flew away.

College Secretary Alexander Pushkin.

Locust extremely gluttonous. Every day an adult insect eats as much plant food as it weighs itself, so knowingly the locust attack was the eighth Egyptian execution and a sign for Pharaoh, so that he finally allowed Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt ( Ex. 10:13 ).

Even now, locusts, no, no, yes, and manifest themselves. Especially often it occurs on the African continent, which contributes to the hot climate.

The last tangible locust invasions occurred in the North Caucasus (in 2010 and 2015), and its largest invasion was recorded in 1875 in the United States, when a huge flock of insects caused tremendous devastation to the state of Texas.

In Ukraine, mass locust breeding has not yet been fixed, but if the average air temperature continues to rise (and this trend is visible), the global warming factor may cause outbreaks of a sharp growth of the locust population in our area.

Locusts are found everywhere, well, except that it is difficult to detect in the northern regions of the globe, since it is a heat-loving insect and in natural conditions, with the onset of cold weather, the number of insects decreases sharply.

When flying, the locust makes a creaky sound, so when a huge colony of insects flies, the sounds of individual individuals merge, amplifying many times, and become an eerie roar that comes from afar, reminiscent of the roar of summer thunder.

Adult (imago)

In total, the locust family ( lat. Acrididae ) has about ten thousand insect species, but the most harmful are two forms: Asian and migratory ( lat. Locusta migratoria ).

The appearance of the locust is inconspicuous and resembles a large grasshopper or cricket, only with more powerful jaws.

The body of an adult migratory individual may be up to six centimeters in length, and the largest may be over fifteen (up to twenty) centimeters.

The wings of an adult insect are greenish in brown spots, the hind ones are transparent and have a green or yellow tint.

The appearance of the winged form of a flying locust is preceded by a usual green filly - a loner, which can be easily found on a usual sun-drenched lawn with wildflowers.

One individual locust lives from eight months to two years and has two life stages, forms or phases of development. These forms are very different from each other and the appearance and physiology and the nature of the behavior, so they were long attributed to various species of the locust family.

At present, scientists perceive both forms as the same species.

· Single phase of insect development

A single locust has a larger size, rich light green body color, for which he received the nickname “Green filly”. This phase of the locust is mostly harmless, because the insect leads a low-active lifestyle, and has only one vital task: to preserve the insect population of its own species. Therefore, while there is enough food and everything in the life of the locust develops safely, the filly lays eggs, giving birth to its kind of green fillies. But as soon as food becomes inadequate (it usually happens in dry years), the locust begins to actively lay eggs, the DNA of which contains a “hiking” food search program and the density of larvae begins to grow in an arithmetic progression. Soon they begin the transition to the second (herd) phase of development.

· The herd phase of insect development

The herd phase of the locust is extremely dangerous. At this stage, the insect becomes more saturated, and the body undergoes metamorphosis. The imago becomes more adapted to long-term flight, and thus the filly turns into a locust.

Adult insects of the gregarious phase begin to stray into dense flocks as they multiply.

Scientists entomologists conducted a curious experiment in which several mirrors were placed in front of the resident female of the green filly. Soon, constantly bumping into her reflections and conflicting with them, the female began to lay eggs with a nomadic life programmed into them. As it turned out later, the green filly turns into a locust of the herd phase due to a banal lack of protein, which produces a female to dramatically increase the population of flying individuals.

In years with abundant food and moderate weather conditions without significant temperature fluctuations, single individuals do not cause particular harm to plants, so only the herd phase of the birth and development of insects should be feared.


With the onset of the first cold weather (usually in October), the locust dies, but before that it lays its eggs for wintering, creating egg capsules or capsules (masonry) in which it places from fifty to one hundred eggs. The capsule is made from the female's glands and has the appearance of a foamy liquid, which, when solidified, becomes a reliable shield for the eggs, thanks to which they do not freeze.

During the summer, one female gives birth to one to three generations of insects.

In the spring, with the warming up of the land of eggs, white larvae appear, which soon darken and begin to feed on vegetation. For about a month, sometimes a little more, the insect larva goes through five stages of development (ages) until it turns into an adult insect.

Mass reproduction of the locust of the herd phase is directly related to weather conditions. Trying to maintain water and protein balance in the body, the flock must continuously feed, so it constantly moves in search of fresh food.

The lack of protein turns part of insect colonies into predators and, thus, dividing the flock into two groups. One part, running away from the fellows, is looking for food, being in constant search for new vegetation, and the other part is at this time replenishing protein reserves, eating, including its relatives.

Pest Control

Agrotechnical events

A preventive means of preventing locusts (in those areas where there is a high probability of a massive invasion of harmful insects) requires careful and deep processing (plowing) of the soil, which destroys the capsules with eggs.

In the spring it is recommended to make a deep harrowing of the earth, which destroys the masonry that was formed after plowing.

Chemical control methods

Effectively protect plantings with unprecedented voracity and mass locust is possible only with the use of chemical methods of plant protection.

With a mass concentration of locust larvae in one area, apply toxic chemicals with a period of validity of at least thirty days. For the treatment and destruction of insects take such drugs as "Karate", "Confidor", "Image", but it is possible to use poisons effectively to fight the Colorado potato beetle.

A good result is shown by the systemic drug “Clotiamet EDC”, which provides reliable protection against locusts for three weeks. This poison is good because it can be effectively used in a tank mix with other microfertilizers, plant protection products and plant growth stimulants, but it is necessary to first carry out a test for compatibility with other chemicals.

Effectively destroy locusts (both larvae and adult insects) such drugs as "Gladiator" and "Damilin." The insecticide "Damilin" has a negative effect on the larvae, slowing their development and disrupting the timing of the formation of the chitinous membrane of the body, as a result of which insects die.

A great advantage of the drug is its low toxicity.