While the entire Iran is struggling to cope with the outbreak of coronavirus, five southern provinces have braced themselves for another uninvited guest -the swarms of locusts some of which consists of two billion hungry insects.
The spokesperson for the Plant Protection Organization of Iran has told Iran daily newspaper that the worst locust outbreak over the past week has occurred in the coastal province of Bushehr.
Mohammad Reza Mir said the number of locusts in a single swarm attacking the Bushehr Province exceeded 2 billion, noting that large areas of land were strewn with dead insects after using biological control mechanisms.
He also noted that the southern provinces have prepared airplanes for the aerial application of pesticides in the war against the locusts.
The biological control mechanisms have been exercised in more than 32,000 hectares of territories in the five endangered provinces, he noted.
Every year, several swarms of locusts, mainly coming from the Arabian peninsula and Africa, penetrate into Iran’s southern farmlands, threatening crops and food security in large areas of the coastal provinces.
While swarming, which is also called the “gregarious” phase and could last until April 8, female locusts lay egg pods of about 80 eggs that usually hatch within two weeks. Factoring in hatching and survival rates, each pod leads to about 16 to 20 adult locusts, which mature in two to four months and start the cycle again, according to Smithsonian magazine.