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Bolivia Combats Plague Of Locusts That Devastates Its Crops

First Posted: Feb 15, 2017 05:34 AM EST

Earlier this year, in January, Bolivia was hit by a plague of locusts that decimated the country's agricultural industry. President Evo Morales declares a state of emergency across the nation to combat the plague of locusts.

Fox News reports that the swarm of locusts invaded south of the eastern city of Santa Cruz, which is one of Bolivia's wealthiest areas, two weeks ago. The plague spread rapidly and now could reach 18 miles from Bolivia's largest city. The President stated that this was the first time Bolivia had seen locusts.

The government has prepared $700,000 in additional funds for fumigation. They are planning to fumigate about 17,000 hectares to prevent the locusts from spreading and endangering the food supply. The local producers are determining where the eggs and locust nymphs were so they could control the initial stages of the plague, according to BBC.

It is estimated that over 2,700 acres (4,100 hectares) of corn, beans and sorghum have been devastated by the locusts, according to Bolivia's eastern Agriculture Chamber. The officials are fearful that the plague could reach the region that supplies over 80 percent of Bolivia's food. An extensive fumigation is conducted now to avoid the further devastation of the locusts.

The plague of locusts follows an extreme drought in Bolivia. This has caused rationing and conflicts over water use.

Locusts belong to the family of Acrididae, which are species of short-horned grasshoppers. The adult locusts are powerful fliers and could travel great distances. They consume most of the green vegetation wherever they settle.

It is known that locusts have formed plagues since prehistory way back in the ancient Egypt, in which it was mentioned in the Bible and the Quran. As of today, there are reports that plagues of locusts are invading some parts of the world including Bolivia and Argentina, among others.

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