A locust is held by Israeli researcher at the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Life Sciences December 22, 2015. Israeli researchers have developed a high-jumping locust lookalike robot that they hope could one day replace humans in military or search-and-rescue operations. P.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
A swarm of locusts darkened the skies of Saudi Arabia over the last few days, as they descended upon the the city of Najran.
The infestation started on Sunday, when masses of the insect were reported to have come from Sudan and Eritrea following unusually heavy rainfall in the region.
Locust Watch, United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), reported that locusts have increased their traditional spring breeding areas in the Middle East, such as in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran.
Locust Watch Aerial and Ground team have treated over 76,000 hectares of land where locusts have deposited their eggs.
The insect poses a major concern for farmers, given that an adult locust can consume its own weight in fresh food per day, which is about 2 grams, the equivalent of a person eating an average of 2.3 kg of food per day, according to the USDA.
"A 1 km2
size swarm contains about 40 million locusts, which eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people, 20 camels or 6 elephants," Locust Watch reported.
In January, a swarm of locusts reached the Islamic holy city Mecca, where the insects were flying around holy sites, causing officials to send a specialized team to tackle the problem.
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