In Mauritania, sunny with a chance of locusts
February 2nd, 2012
01:06 PM ET

In Mauritania, sunny with a chance of locusts

By John D. Sutter, CNN

Nouakchott, Mauritania (CNN) - In this outpost in the Sahara Desert, scientists are working feverishly to add a “Biblical problem” to the weather forecasts:

Locust swarms.

The Desert Locust Center here in the capital of Mauritania, an enormous and sandy West-African country, is employing all kinds of technology - from “eLocust” computing devices to satellite images and crowdsourced locust reports from desert nomads who carry mobile phones - to try to predict when and where these bugs may congregate by the billions.

The hope is to be able to predict the swarms like weather events.

It’s no small task, and one with dire consequences. Locusts - grasshopper-like insects - have been decimating crops in Mauritania for at least 3,000 years, contributing to food insecurity and poverty. It’s said that after locusts buzz through an area, the trees become skeletons, devoid of bark, and the ground is left completely bare, munched to the roots.

“Sometimes they can hide the sky,” said Sidi Ould Ely, a researcher at the center.

When billions of locusts swarm an area - tens of millions can occupy a kilometer during a swarm event - farmers are left without crops and food. Livestock die off, too. In 2004, thousands of people were impacted by a major locust swarm.

Beida Ould Beilil, a date farmer in northern Mauritania, remembers that event well. The locusts ate the bark off of his trees and covered the sky, "like clouds," he said.

"Nobody can stop the locusts except god."

God - or maybe scientists.

Forecasting these events could save lives, according to the Desert Locust Center's scientists, who met with CNN in December.

Field workers use eLocust devices to report on conditions that could favor a locust swarm.
Field workers use eLocust devices to report on conditions that could favor a locust swarm.
This desert farmer recalls a day when locusts blotted out the sun.
This desert farmer recalls a day when locusts blotted out the sun.
Locusts are known to eat the little vegetation Mauritania has, including the bark from trees.
Locusts are known to eat the little vegetation Mauritania has, including the bark from trees.

The locust research group, led by Dr. Mohamed Abdallahi Ould Babah, has amassed what Babah says is the largest database on locusts in the world - showing when the conditions are right for swarms, or “invasions,” as he says, and where they occur.

In general, these catastrophic events happen when there has been ample rain in the desert and, consequently, when there is plenty of vegetation to feed on. The center monitors all of this with satellite images. And its army of 150 workers uses eLocust gadgets to instantly upload data about locust sightings from the field.

Adding to that info, the center has started reaching out to Mauritania’s nomadic people, who roam the desert with herds of goats, cattle and camels - and, also, lately with mobile phones. The center has given them a free number to call when they see locusts. All of that data helps the center to get a sense of when a swarm may hit.

There’s still plenty of mystery in the process, however.

That’s because no one knows for sure exactly why locusts swarm.

Koutaro Maeno, a Japanese researcher who came to Mauritania to study these insects, says the swarms definitely have something to do with the fact that when desert locusts start to feel crowded, they change shape and color.

Nice locusts that are not prone to swarming are small and green.

Evil locusts that are starting to crowd each other - the scientific term for this group is “gregarious,” but they look far too mean for a conversation over cocktails - get larger, develop barrel chests and change into terrifying colors of red and black.

Their black antennae make them look like little devils.

Other theories about why they swarm include: They panic when their population grows and they run out of food; and, because locusts can be cannibalistic, they may be running from each other in an effort not to get eaten - or chasing each other for access to a food source.

That's a theory supported by the work of Iain Couzin, an associate professor at Princeton who visited Mauritania to conduct field research on locusts and their group behavior. Here's how Couzin explained the situation in an interview:

The locusts are very much like a magnet. The magnetic particles in a magnet tend to align with each other. And when they're all aligned across the magnet, that's what gives it magnetism. So we found a similar mathematical ruleset underlying these locusts. That tells us that this alignment can lead to these devastating swarms, but it didn't tell us why they align. That was a huge surprise. It was a situation where we just discovered it by accident. The locusts were trying to eat each other. When it looks like a cooperative swarm, in reality it's a selfish, cannibalistic horde. Everyone is trying to eat everyone else - and trying to avoid being eaten. The outcome is you run away from those coming towards you and you run towards those going away from you. And that leads to these tremendous swarms moving across desert environments. There's no food around, anyway. So they're making the best of a pretty bad situation.

The locust center in Nouakchott has had some success in predicting swarms, using this info and combining it with the data from satellites, eLocust machines and nomadic reports.

Late last year, for example, Babah said the center identified a potential swarm in advance and treated the area with insecticides to prevent a disaster from occurring.

In other instances, though, the group has not been so lucky.

Chalk up some of the difficulties to the fact that the satellite images the group uses are not high-resolution enough to spot actual swarming locusts - only conditions on the ground that would make a swarm possible.

Babah said more funding is needed for better-resolution images and more frequent monitoring.

Scientists from Oxford to Princeton are looking into the issue as well.

Understanding of swarms will continue to grow, Babah said. Of the center’s massive database of locust data, researchers have analyzed only 5%, he said.

Post by:
Filed under: Science • Tech
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. stone island combat trousers

    618 heather stone dr merritt island fl 32953 stone island coats baby stone island hoodies black stone island jeans true religion baby stone island clothes 9.99 or less discount stone island black stone island jeans 28 inseam boys stone island hat baby stone island 7 theaters stone island t shirts baby stone island tour boys stone island 30 baby stone island clothes quotes stone island official black stone island jeans girls boys stone island jackets for sale baby stone island new balance black stone island shorts baby stone island clothes hamper stone island baby black stone island jeans 9.99 boys stone island jackets 5xl baby stone island clothes 2014 stone island patch base fashion stone island boys stone island aw 2011 baby stone island clothes zara fashion stone island suit black stone island jeans maker strauss boys stone island jackets n things ambler pa baby boy stone island stone island beanie
    stone island combat trousers

    October 22, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Reply
  2. michael kors booties

    michael kors winter coats michael kors rings michael kors winter coat michael kors flat boots michael kors suit michael kors shoes for women new michael kors handbags michael kors boots 2010 buy michael kors michael kors black bag michael kors silver shoes michael kors handbags on clearance michael kors wedge boots michael kors jet set wallet michael kors calista michael kors hamilton large tote michael kors fulton shoulder bag michael kors keychain michael kors gold shoes michael kors coats on sale michael kors gansevoort michael kors runway michael kors outlet buffalo michael kors ebay michael kors girls shoes michael kors grayson satchel michael kors gold wallet michael kors straw handbag michael kors hollywood michael kors cheap bags michael kors rain coat michael kors knock off
    michael kors booties

    October 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  3. RayBanGlassheelsonline

    I would like to voice my affection for your kindness giving support to women who actually need help with that content. Your special commitment to passing the solution across had become remarkably helpful and has encouraged people much like me to realize their ambitions. Your informative publication can mean much a person like me and much more to my mates. Thanks a ton; from everyone of us. RayBanGlassheelsonline

    July 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  4. ofertas baleares

    obviously like your web-site but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very bothersome to tell the truth then again I'll certainly come again again.

    March 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  5. Pharmc13

    Very nice site!

    November 11, 2012 at 2:10 am | Reply
  6. Pharmb993

    Hello! aaeakbk interesting aaeakbk site! I'm really like it! Very, very aaeakbk good!

    November 11, 2012 at 2:10 am | Reply
  7. Pharmb819

    Very nice site!

    November 11, 2012 at 2:09 am | Reply
  8. Pharma843

    Hello! bgcdfke interesting bgcdfke site! I'm really like it! Very, very bgcdfke good!

    November 11, 2012 at 2:09 am | Reply

    I think that is one of the most important info for me. And i am satisfied reading your article. However should commentary on few general things, The site taste is perfect, the articles is in reality nice : D. Excellent process, cheers

    June 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  10. Indoor Micro RC Plane

    I do believe all of the ideas you have presented for your post. They're really convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for starters. Could you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

    May 21, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  11. Poetry

    We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with useful information to work on. You've performed a formidable job and our entire group will be thankful to you.

    April 29, 2012 at 5:32 am | Reply
  12. social media in marketing

    Somebody necessarily assist to make severely posts I'd state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual submit incredible. Magnificent process!

    April 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  13. exterior building cleaning

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I have take into accout your stuff previous to and you're simply extremely wonderful. I actually like what you've got here, really like what you're saying and the way in which through which you assert it. You're making it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to keep it sensible. I can not wait to learn far more from you. This is really a terrific website.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  14. how to remove google virus

    I'm extremely inspired with your writing talents as smartly as with the layout in your weblog. Is this a paid subject or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it's rare to see a great weblog like this one these days..

    March 31, 2012 at 9:19 am | Reply
  15. Moukhtar

    ho this is

    February 18, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  16. Moukhtar


    February 18, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
  17. dwight huth

    A NEW VIRUS.....

    "Activating Defense Programming On All Levels...This Is A World Wide General Alert....Code Yellow Initiated."
    The other night I was I downloading a trial version of CS5 which the trial had expired and this got me to thinking about hackers and terrorism and how they could effectively shut operations against them down.
    We know that a trial version of a program last for what maybe 30 days before you have to purchase a key code in order to use the program.
    Lets say a very good hacker is able to attached this type of programming to a virus and then implants that virus into many PC's and Servers.
    The virus would remain hidden until a certain number of keyed sequences were completed such as typing a certain letter or number x times on the keyboard, turning the computer on or off x number of times or even connected to the clock inside of the computer.
    After the virus sequence is to activate the virus the virus would begin infecting the systems of the pc or server that allowed the pc or server to actually function. After the number of days set into the virus by the hacker the virus would shut the systems of the pc or server down where the message on the screen would read something like "Your Trial Version Has Expired. Please Purchase An Activation Key To Continue Use." The only problem would be that there is no activation key that is able to be purchased which would cause the user to reformat their PC or Server to erase the virus. Reformatting a PC or Server would definately cause severe economical problems for the systems effected as well as causing a general failure in all internet related communication between allied military forces allowing Russia, China, Iran and Syria to launch further attacks.
    "Rogue Squadron....begin your run on their communications processing relays and manufacturing centers....find their engineer that is building this virus...he.....or she is out there right now building it....keep a close eye on Anonymous as I would expect this type of attack to be launched by their group first."

    February 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  18. 4commonsensenow

    Very interesting research. From what I seen so far, about swarms, normally for protection. Must be some kind of living hell flying around with your former best friend trying to eat you. If you were to trap them for food, I fear not much would be left except a few full ones lazily burping from there feast.

    February 12, 2012 at 6:42 am | Reply
  19. ,vg,jhvfhyf,k,kkmnbv,khjv,khvb

    yah i think youre totally right

    February 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply

      GOD please forgive Sirs ALPHABET & Mike for their free attacks on this poor country (Mauritania) and their very simplistic diagnoses of slavery

      February 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  20. Mike

    The locusts plague Mauritania as a punishment from Allah for practicing slavery.
    God's wrath won't end until they relent from their evil ways.

    February 6, 2012 at 4:09 am | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      Mike, if you and I are going to pick and choose reasons that Allah is punishing another country for its transgressions, don't you think it's more likely they're being punished for their widespread cultural habit of Female Genital Mutilation than the slavery, or for both? Is it appropriate for you or me to throw stones at other countries?

      None of us is anything like perfect. The society of which I am a part is recently guilty of violating the Geneva Convention by torturing prisoners, thanks to its moronic President and Vice-President.

      February 6, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
  21. dinosaintange

    know one knows why locust swarm?.....really?,,,,,,,answer: why do you find schools of fish in the ocean, herd of buffalo in plains, nd pride of lions?

    February 6, 2012 at 2:46 am | Reply
    • Phil


      February 6, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Bob

      Swarming is the same concept picked up by the greedy corporate rich and GOP republicans except in business it's called Global market. In the US it's called NAFTA and GANT. The corporate greedy along with their GOP support up root jobs and move them into ripe under developed and/or oppressed countries where they use up the labor population by exploiting below normal wages and working conditions until those countries rise and develop. Once that happens they pick and move again like swarms of locus until they find another country that is under developed or move back to those countries that have been exploited to the point of economical collapse. The cycle repeats itself over and over as long as politicians get paid off to look the other way. The 99 percent are the vegetation, the locus are the corporate rich who feed off them.

      February 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  22. mmi16

    Surprised the Donald hasn't figured out a way to make locusts a profit center.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:57 am | Reply
    • Boo

      Trump Cretins, "It's gonna be HUGE!"

      February 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
      • Brendo

        beJesuswindmills on February 13, 2011 This Automatic Feathering Flat Blade Radial Windmill Is tnrniug a 14hp Alternator self starting in 2-3 mph winds Very powerful example Of measurable reaction equal to the force of the big winds that blew yesterday

        February 20, 2012 at 2:30 am |
      • Alejandro

        jawawtter on January 5, 2011 desgin team for this truck: ok. basically, let's take an Expedition, and add chrome everywhere possible, luxury interior, and coolness. and chrome. lots and lots of chrome but I hav to admit, I dont hate it

        February 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  23. Les

    What a waste of money! Locusts are a high protein food that was eaten by man for millions of years. They have the flavor of a very mild shrimp. Instead of figuring out how to eradicate the swarms, they should be figuring out how to efficiently harvest and market this important food stuff.

    February 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  24. David Crandall

    They need a way to kill them, not just detect them. And let's find a way to kill those pythons in the Florida everglades too.

    February 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  25. Kme

    Eat them. Look at all of that food going to waste.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • Relictus

      They are edible – instead of going hungry, people could be feasting! I would not want to try one, but if the alternative was starving, well, then "Bugs for dinner!".

      February 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
      • Chartreuxe

        Locusts are Kosher.

        February 5, 2012 at 9:22 am |
      • Steve

        I totally agree with you. The little beasties could be sprayed with non-toxic to human spray, immobilized by sound waves, or any number of other means. Think of all the food products that woud be created to feed the world's hungry!
        Yum...tasty dorito like cornhopper chips! More food, more jobs...less bugs!!!! We, as a human species, should move quickly forward on this....I, for one, am GungHo!!!!!

        February 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Phil in Oregon

      They need locust spotters like the tornado spotters in the US. Not good enough roads to zoom around like they do, though.

      February 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
    • Juan

      Ann, unfortunately we're not aware of any good upopsrt message boards. There may be some great ones out there, but we're not familiar with them, and can't recommend anything. If your friend is interested in learning more about CT for depression or anxiety, though, we would suggest that she take a look at the . They have info about CT for various disorders, as well as recommended books and computer programs. Sorry we don't know anything about message boards! Good luck with it.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Reply
  26. Sparta

    I share your idea about detecting sworms based on bady coloration. But the problème is that locust are very smal and unpredictible. some kind of satalitte can be used for this aim, but these one are usually very expensif and countries where locust cause damage are generally poor. If you have any clear idea about this issue, you can get intatch through my email:

    February 3, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • Bala

      illyounotme on February 13, 2011 I have been trying to exailpn to people the dangers of during a magnetic pole reversal that the solar radiation will become dramatically more deadly here on earth. The magnetic field is what protects us, and with that weakening and multi poles opening up (essentially holes channeling solar ration to the ground) the earth will be getting much more radiation. I was glad to hear mention mutation also. These event might be evolutionary boosts, with massive mutation rates.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:28 am | Reply
  27. humberto

    Just use some lime to get rid of them already.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:15 am | Reply
  28. J

    Why don't they look for some tasty Locust recipes on the internet? Problem solved.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply
    • daniel

      try this

      February 3, 2012 at 3:01 am | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      Google Dr. Frog's Recipe Page for locust preparation instructions and recipes.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  29. Burbank

    The most dangerous of all are the human locusts. Seven billion of them and counting.... Just keep cranking out all those kids people! Ever stop to think what kind of world you are creating for them by having so many????? That includes this country, not all of "those" people on another continent.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Reply
    • MsBlacktern

      Mr Burbank read your bible.. It says to have children .. and all those bible fanatics keep having them, 5..6 kids , and the church don't pay for their expenses or education..

      February 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • #5

        The bible also says there will be a time when ppl think they'll be better off without kids.

        February 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Oakspar77777

      Fear not the population boom – as it is fixed by the swarm. When humanity reaches a critical peak, it will also turn towards cannibalism, creating a utopia of success. The worthless masses of brainless dependants will have their lives handed to them by the welfare state.

      Meanwhile, the working/ruling class will demand their payment – their "pound of flesh." Forget the idea that Soylent Green is People, no, instead make sure your grandchilden will be, like mine, proudly running for and in the Morlock Party in the election of 2084.

      February 3, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
      • Relictus

        Morlock Party? *snerk* I'm in ... =)

        February 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Adit

      PAINKILLER RECIPEPusser's Painkiller was created in the British Virgin Islands. It is evesrd in almost every restaurant and on every island in the British Virgin Islands. It is now considered the official drink of the BVI's.2 4 oz Pusser'sae dark rum4 oz pineapple juice1 oz cream of coconut1 oz orange juiceComes in numbers 2, 3, and 4 based on amount of rum. Serve on the rocks. Stir and grate fresh nutmeg on the top.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
      • Raoul

        Hi, from where I live in Spain Ib4d like to recommend Juan Jose Millas, one of the cruntoyb4s best, and one who shows some of the cultural differences in lit. you mention (especially over how we see the human body). Various of his books have been translated, mainly in the US. One, The Disorder of Your Name, I translated about 10 years ago for the UK publisher Alison & Busby (who also published one of my novels). Juan Jose Millas also writes a very good weekly column for the daily El Pais and is a founder of the School of Fine Arts in Madrid.cheers,Rod

        June 9, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  30. the_dude

    Where did they get the money for all those cool locust-detecting devices and yet still have kids die of hunger in the streets?

    February 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Reply
    • China soil is greasy

      Locusts, that's what the people in Hong Kong call the mainland Chinese. Lol.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Reply
      • hatersgonnahate

        The "mainlanders" can just turn off the freshwater tab one day and all of you people on that tiny little island would then have a newer and more appropriate thought on this issue. Ignorance

        February 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
      • tassm

        China's population control is the greatest contribution to ecology.

        February 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  31. Dave B

    With all the self devouring being done by the Republicans. I think Locust is an appropriate term.

    February 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • Nici

      Why does it have to be personal? Why not not just bcc N-many at a time We apeaicprte your application but we don't think you will be a better fit elsewhere . Efficient with the key acknowledgement that an engineer needs unless of course you feel specificity of skill-lack will make a difference in a impressionable engineer's life.BTW, typo on your signup page Once you purchase you first study .

      August 19, 2012 at 3:45 am | Reply
  32. Shawn

    Grew up on a farm in Canada. The equation was simple every 7 years they were bad, and every 7×7 years (49) they destroyed the crops. Maybe not an exact science, but it seemed to hold true.

    February 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  33. Emelia

    Idiotic comments aside, it'll be very interesting to learn why they swarm when a conclusion is reached.

    February 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  34. dee

    Predicting the next swarm of locusts? A no brainer: Sunday, February 5...Super Bowl Sunday @ my house. By 10 pm there'll be nothing left. (Just remember you heard it here first!)

    February 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
    • Daniel

      Holy Epic FAIL!

      February 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
      • Swapnil

        Posted on Hello, my name is Alex, i'm a newbie here. I ralely do like your resource and ralely interested in things you discuss here, also would like to enter your community, hope it is possible:-) Cya around, best regards, Alex!

        March 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • tom


      you are so hilarious Dee.......yawn (another wannabe comic with zero sense of humor)

      February 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply

      Dee that was painful

      February 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • Tenaj


      February 2, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Reply
      • Shyamal

        I would like to give tkhans a lot for the job you have made in writing this piece of writing. I am hoping the same most reliable job by you later on as well.

        February 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  35. RAMBO

    Just gimme a M60 and ill take care of the rest

    February 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  36. GaryP

    They're cruncy and good with ketchup. Like fries w/ wings.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • LocustMuncher

      -I'll net them, fry them, sprinkle with salts and pepper may be catch-up or soya sauce sure they'r one of my food.,,

      February 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  37. MG

    Hello, I am from Mauritania. this issue is not a joke.
    The vast desert undeveloped country is simply difficult to protect from anything. I've seen the devastation they leave in just few hours to the crops and even to the precarious houses.
    Just hope that with the sciences, an early warning system can be put in place and take care of the colonies before they strike.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • Daniel

      Question for you: Do you catch and eat the locusts? If not, why not?

      February 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Reply
      • MG

        As abnormal as it seems, we do not do eat them. the paradox is that Mauritania is at risk of hunger at least every 4 years including this one. I know they eat them in some countries form the area like Niger, Burkina Faso, etc and they test good in addition to being nutritious.

        February 3, 2012 at 11:13 am |
      • Beata

        Besides the implications of biebas having biebas; with everyone just dead staring at the baby Jesus like that, it almost looks like they're wondering what barbecue sauce to put on him before feasting. Seriously, it's creepy. Oh well, biebas having biebas...and then eating them.

        March 18, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • ChicagoRich

      At the very least an early warning would give farmers a small bit of time to secure any crops that might be harvestable at that point so that they have at least some resources to keep themselves and livestock alive after the swarm has passed. Possibly netting for some smaller fields or areas, although I would guess it would be difficult to secure it sufficiently well to keep the little critters out. Greenhouses would be nice to save water generally, and in times of swarms, protect some produce, but I am pretty sure the economic realities prevent any significant implementation of those. Good luck at any rate.

      February 3, 2012 at 3:43 am | Reply
    • Joel

      Wouldn't the collective swarm beating their wings be detectable listening to a certain range of frequencies? with enough listening devices/frequency scanners deployed one would be able to track them in remote areas. Using direction vectors one could predict where they're likely to swarm – and you could prep areas with insecticides.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:22 am | Reply
    • mel

      What about sound frequency?

      February 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
    • John

      Since you know that some neighboring countries do eat locust, wouldn't it make sense to go into business? Capture the locust and sell them to countries that take advantage of this form of protein. They probably make great fertilizer as well. Grind them up and sell the mash to the farmers for fertilizer. When all is said and done you may end up complaining that there are not enough locust!

      February 3, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Reply
      • John

        In regards to locating them, why wouldn't radar work? It's my understanding that the Chinese are working in the Sahara on a solar energy project. A cash of locust might fund a portion of the new project.

        February 4, 2012 at 12:00 am |
      • Amna

        :That is such a perfect cerousre that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing web pages that understand the value of providing a quality cerousre for free. It is the old what goes around arrives around routine. Did you acquired plenty of links and also I see many trackbacks??

        March 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      MG, many of the comments making light of the very real problems come from young males in our society with no idea what it's like to go hungry or without clean water or a place to sleep.

      In other words, they're privileged and don't know they're lucky to live in an industrialized country. In their blind arrogance, they lack understanding that it's rude to make light of the misfortune of others.

      Time and education will cure some of them.

      February 5, 2012 at 9:31 am | Reply
  38. engineer long time

    Deep fried and dipped in soy....mmmmmmmmm. or ketchup....

    February 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  39. Mark

    can a person die if they get stuck in the middle of a swarm?

    February 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • 1432

      They could suffocate you

      February 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  40. SequoiaAdmirer

    Did you pay the 1/10th for your protection on your land?

    February 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  41. Beetle

    estatablish the infrastructure to mass collect, mass process, resulting in megatons of protien powder to add to livestock feed, health food stores, etc. This is a cash crop, use it.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      Using *what* for capital? These are *desert subsistence* farmers. They live on the very edge of survival. There are no banks to loan them money for expansion.

      You seem naive or lacking in understanding that these people have few if any resources. They are *poor.*

      February 5, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
  42. jimzcarz

    Chocolate covered grasshoppers anyone.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  43. jimzcarz

    Bring on the flamethrowers...;)

    February 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • TonyC


      February 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  44. svscnn

    They will strike whenever Moses says they will strike. 😉

    February 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • Sam I. Am

      Then they'd better LET HIS PEOPLE GO!

      February 5, 2012 at 12:13 am | Reply
  45. VinoBianco

    Simply amazing that there are still people today who think locust swarms are "acts from god"...haven't we progressed in 2000 years??

    February 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • Dhapne

      :I just wanted to send a ilmpse word to be able to appreciate you for these splendid advice you are giving out at this website. My long internet search has at the end of the day been rewarded with reliable concept to talk about with my pals. I d assume that many of us readers actually are rather endowed to live in a fabulous place with many special individuals with valuable basics. I feel pretty happy to have discovered your entire web page and look forward to many more fabulous times reading here. Thanks once more for a lot of things.

      March 18, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
    • Shely

      My eyes will shortly be availadable for vtipare engageadments — book signadings, dates, candlelit dinadners, wedaddings, funeradals, baradmitzvahs, that sort of thing — at a very reasadonadablea0cost.Except to The Goldadfish and Andre, of course, who get that honadour fora0free. | 12.31.06, 18:06

      March 20, 2012 at 1:26 am | Reply
  46. driranek

    Yes, locusts are edible and allegedly taste acceptable. When the locusts eat your crops just get a big net and eat locusts. Catch enough and maybe there will be fewer next season.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
    • Al

      A billion locusts is a lot to eat, but good luck to any who try your method. 🙂 Low fat and high protein too from what I hear.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
      • Nadzirah

        End-time events are lnitarecy speeding up and growing in intensity where various calamities are concerned. Dr. Meredith is totally right in saying we must return to God and obey Him, otherwise things will go from bad to worse. But sadly it seems most of mankind will continue to defy God and refuse to surrender to Him, fail to live His way of life, thus formenting even more terrible disasters with theresulting pain and sorrow for many. However we know from Bible prophecy Jesus Christ will return to prevent mankind destroying itself and He will set up the Kingdom of God where peace, joy and abundant living living will prevail. No more lonliness, unhappiness, broken marriages, crime, injustice, pain or sickness. What a wonderful prospect!

        March 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Typinator

      Crunchy too!

      February 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  47. Josh

    We first need to elevate ourselves to the level of a God, and then we could stop the locust swarms.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • MG

      Good luck with that logic

      February 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
    • Al

      Holding a can of Raid in a locust storm might make you pretty godlike.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • Alfio

      sgro77777 on September 21, 2011 hey buddy i liked frvtaioed and subbed:) i would reallly appreciate it if i won the microsoft points thanks<3

      February 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  48. MG

    Just because the bible speaks of locust does not mean it predicts todays locust swarms, what kind of logic is that? Like Bob said " this is natures way". Now if you want to discuss the massive unsustainable over population of humans..go for it.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  49. MH

    Down they come
    The swarm of locusts
    Skies above
    Converge to choke us
    Feast of souls
    Consume the harvest
    Young and old
    Suffer unto the locust!

    February 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Reply
    • Awesome!

      Just saw them Fri night!
      Great reference...I scanned all responses looking for that!!

      February 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  50. SixDegrees

    It will be very difficult to come up with a satellite capable of resolving insects until their numbers have swollen so dramatically that they are beyond the point where they can be easily stopped. The crowd-sourcing idea is good, if there's cell service available. It might also be a good peacetime use for UAVs, deployed to areas where such a shift is likely for a closer look.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • ChicagoRich

      With high enough resolution, I would venture a guess that it would be possible to detect the swarms based upon the overall change in color to the background, or at the least detect possible swarms. For example, enough of that yellow frequency of light from the locust in the photograph combined with a darkening on a clear day might be a tell tale sign of locust swarms in an area on the overall image. You could not, and would not need to resolve individual insects. Neither any current spy sattelite, or even the Hubble if turned towards the earth would be able to resolve individual insects as there is no reflector up there large enough to be capable of that fine of resolution at that distance because there are limits to the resolution obtainable imposed by the interferance of light for any given frequency. Fortunately, I would guess that one meter images might be enough if the data was timely, and if reasonable spectral analysis of the light per pixel was available, which probably wouldn't be for these purposes, I would venture an analysis program could be written that could automatically process the images and alert one to the presence of swarms above a minimal level.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:00 am | Reply
    • ChicagoRich

      The UAV idea is a good one as much higher resolution would be obtained, although it would be difficult to cover such a vast area.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:01 am | Reply
    • muhammet

      bhubsall120 on October 20, 2011 i think there should've been an i am legend game. could free roam the city and go through houses to find weapons, food, and medical equipment. online play could be like GTA4. im sure Will Smith would do it.

      February 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  51. George Patton

    Can't you catch huge swaths of them with massive nets and just kill them off? How about sending poison sprays via aircraft directly into the swarms when out in the desert. How about eating them?

    February 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • sharoom

      The swarms can reach several hundred square miles in size and are way too big for nets to be effective.
      Poison spraying into an area that big would cause a lot of collateral damage into the surrounding ecosystem.
      People (and other predators like birds) do eat the locusts, but it's not enough to really affect the swarm.

      The swarm is just too d*** big.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • Maria

      Hi JossEnjoyed the read above, and the comment my mate Paul put on here 🙂 As the lead dev for Hubbbie, and mupltlie other systems, there is a reason for the noreply mail addresses: many mail hosts, such as Yahoo, Hotmail, etc, actually allow more mail through with SPF acknowledged DNS settings as well as, you guessed it, it being a noreply@ address. Reason? If a bounce back occurs to the noreply, the mail server actually know it shouldn't go through and automatically re-route it to the trash :)This is all to mitigate unneeded mail in inboxes, as one would want actual mail to come through, such as your example of a template getting messed up. That is why we have the support@ mail address. I actually haven't come across one user who didn't know that they should forward queries to support@ and not noreply@. And 99% of users know that if it is a noreply@ address, not to reply to it, as the name is pretty self-explanatory and its basically breeding a culture around e-mail system usage by having everyone join in and use this type of system.True, the hello@ and info@ etc etc mailboxes are useful for first contact, but who would reply to a e-mail saying that they just received a invite request? What would the content of their reply be firstly? If, for instance, your bank sends you a text message that you have withdrawn over a certain amount, would you want to reply to it? 🙂

      September 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  52. Bob

    These things are natures way and should not be tampered with. The planet giveth and taketh away....

    February 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
    • driranek

      So are polio and hookworm.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • IH

      Sure, let nature progress as it should... Why take antibiotics next time you catch pneumonia? Just let the staph grow.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
      • Filipe

        SecularTechnology on March 4, 2011 @Cargo1273 This cost just as much ralely. And it's just as luxury as they are. Oh and should I mention that the Navigator was first, and they merely copied it.

        February 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • ChicagoRich

      Natures way would have us build up our societies, collapse, rebuild, collapse, and so on. I am not sure that is ultimately something we ought to want to stick with.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:03 am | Reply
  53. palintwit

    Ha ha. The locusts are eating each other. Just like the republicans and the teabaggers and the Palins.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • cocoloco

      Dim witted! Leave your stupid political comment for another article, moron!

      February 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  54. Joink

    Take a stab at reading the bible. It will give you a pretty good prediction.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      You can read Twilight or Harry Potter too and get about as much true predictive information

      February 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
      • Destaphenes

        heh...true. Articles like this let the swarm of creationists go crazy"er" locusts.

        February 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • sharoom

      Huh? Explain it to me then and give me predictions from the Bible on when and where the swarms are going to be. We'll then verify if this is correct or not by SEEING if the swarms are there. If you can't do that, then your Bible claim is unsubstantial.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
      • casey

        hell last year they said the world was going to end starting with an earthquake there was indeed an earthquake where they said it was going to be, and there was one the day before and days before that. I want proof that the world is going to end! But if it does, oh well guess it was my time to die!

        February 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • casey

      LOL I'm sorry I'm with NASA on this, there is no proof that the world is going to end. They make rockets and help people live in space, I think I am going to believe them.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
      • erika

        I came to the conclusion if Stephen Hawking doesn't think the world ending this year, neither do I lol I have to admit I always think twice about it though :/

        February 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
      • Pankaj

        phantomscolts2 on March 25, 2011 we ve already nuked our sleevs over 2050 detonations since 1944 and nothing about the effects of this on our CLIMATE or the oceans mysterious dead zones or the depleted urainum from power plants dumped in the oceans was any of this in their HOCKEY PUCK global warming senerio FILE:WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR TESTING.SVG ..seems to coincide with climate changes .coupled with OPPERATION STAR FISH PRIME its a wonder we have an upper atmosphere our eaths maybe more fragile than we think

        September 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Trucka Moob

      You act as if that can predict everything. A Greenland weatherman can predict more than.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.