Living on all continents of world, except the Arctic regions, locusts are widely recognized as being one of the most destructive pests on earth.
Head of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, Chris Adrianne, said the quick-breeding creatures had hit from Longreach in Queensland in the northeast to Melbourne and Adelaide -- about 500,000 square kilometres (190,000 square miles). "It's simply a reflection of the fact that we've had widespread rain across that entire area."
Adrianne also said “Some swarms covered areas as large as 300 square kilometers, with about 10 locusts per square metre, that's a lot of locusts." Motorists are forced to drive through clouds of the insects.
The farmers are bracing themselves for massive financial losses in the millions of dollars, as enormous areas as 1000s of hectares are ravaged by the insects. One farmer reported having lost about 400 hectares (1,000 acres), which will have to be resown, while others sit and wait, delaying planting their crops.
John Brumby, the Victorian Premier, said "Experts predict we could be facing the worst locust plague in 75 years."
Coalition agriculture spokesman Peter Walsh accused the state government of not spending sufficient money on locust control.
Locusts can travel several hundred miles in a 24 hour time frame, using wind currents. Farmers are being encouraged to order locust-spraying chemicals early, to ensure manufacturers can meet demand.
Australia is not alone as swarms of hungry locusts also devastate large areas in Mexico.
With only a light hurricane season, the hot weather has set off a heavy breeding season for the locusts. Squads of men armed with motorized pesticide pumps conduct nightly raids on the insects, as they rest in the fields.
Once a locust plague breaks out, there is little that can be done to stop it. "It is effectively a war," German Parra, a local agriculture official, told the Reuters news agency.
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