Locusts Swarm Northeast Kenya

Voracious pest could strip bare nation's crops
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2007 2:28 PM CST
A man hold locusts killed by pesticide spraying in Mauritania in a 1986 file photo. Kenya is currently seeing the worst locust swarm since the 1960s.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Threatened by the largest swarm of locusts seen in Kenya since the 1960s, authorities have begun spraying crops in affected areas in hopes of exterminating the rapacious pests before they have a chance to lay eggs. The locusts, each of which can consume its own weight in food daily, have already done serious damage to the African nation's crops, the BBC reports.

"These pests cause a great damage to crops, pasture and browse if left uncontrolled," said the agriculture minister, AFP reports. If the egg-laying is successful, "hoppers" will hatch within 2 weeks, quickly mature, and begin stripping the countryside bare. Kenya has been locust-free for years, but other parts of Africa, primarily the horn, have been hit hard in the recent past.