Thursday, February 14, 2008

Calm down: These locusts aren't so bad, says FAO

Regarding those locusts gathering in southern Mauritania: Hold on to your insect foggers because these critters are not so destructive as their cousins.

From IRIN:

“These insects are áboricole’or ‘tree locusts’, which pose no great harm to people’s crops, unlike the ‘pelerins’ or ‘desert locusts’”, which can destroy people’s livelihoods in a matter of hours, Keith Cressman, locust forecasting officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome told IRIN.

“The worst damage that tree locusts will cause there is to defoliate some of the region’s acacia trees,” he said.

Though tree locusts do not travel in big swarms like desert locusts do, the two types are often mistaken for one another, he added. Tree locusts are common in the Sahel region at this time of year.

A small swarm of desert locusts can eat as much food in a day as 2,500 people. In recent years, Mauritania has recorded regular locust outbreaks of desert locusts that destroy crops and pastures.

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