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General Information

Common name: Locust
Scientific name: Locusta spp.

Host plants

Locusts feed on grains and cereals. Nymphs and adults feed on leaves, young branches and buds. Larvae and adults feed on corns, wheat, rice, vine and vegetables (University of Minnesota, 1996).


Locust adults can consume about two grams of fresh food per day. They have strong chewing mouthparts along with strong appetites. They can clear hectares of crops and wild vegetation in a day. They appear to eat whatever is in their path and will sometimes eat entire plants. This is particularly true when short horned species change over to locusts and migrate. They are strong flyers and can cause uncontrollable damage.


Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Australia


Eggs are deposited at the bottom of the egg-laying hole and are contained in an egg-pod covered with dirty-white foamy substance. The female, using her ovipositor, drills a hole into the ground at a depth of 10-15 cm below the surface. Eggs are hatched as wingless nymphs.

A young larva (nymph) nearly looks almost like an adult but without wings and rudimentary genital system. The larva molts 5 times before becoming a young adult.

The adult possesses wings and genital organs that are completely developed. A female can lay about 95-58 eggs in an egg pod. They can lay eggs at least three times in their lifetime with intervals of 6-11 days. They feed on green vegetation to produce eggs. Rainfall, green vegetation, conditions of the habitat and temperature are necessary for locusts' development. The first generation produced after a migration is not usually migratory.

All locust species are identical in appearance to grasshoppers. Locusts differ from grasshoppers because they have the ability to change their behavior and habits and can migrate over large distances, whereas grasshoppers cannot. When the population density is low, locusts behave as individuals, like the grasshoppers. However, when the population density is high, locusts change their behaviors and form highly mobile swarms. Locust migration is an occasional event, only when an enormous build-up of the locust population occurs. When they migrate as a swarm of adults, they can darken the sky over an area of many miles. When they settle, after long travels of hundreds or thousands miles, they are hungry and begin to feed voraciously, consuming huge area of vegetation.
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