A dense swarm of locusts obscures a view of fields. Photo: Michele Martinelli, National Geographic
Last updated October 28, 2016
Jun 1, 2015
-
Mar 31, 2016

Argentina Locust Plague 2015 - 2016

Santiago del Estero Province
Argentina

Argentina is dealing with its largest plague of locusts in more than half a century, and though the scourge may sound biblical, some experts say climate change could be a factor.

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Argentina's locusts could be next climate pest

Argentina is dealing with its largest plague of locusts in more than half a century, and though the scourge may sound biblical, some experts say climate change could be a factor. The unusually mild and rainy 2015-2016 winter in Argentina provided the perfect conditions for the locusts, which have spread across an area the size of Delaware.[1]

Since 2010, Brazil’s agricultural agency has seen an increase in the numbers of insects that can destroy crops and grasslands.[1] The locusts have the potential to decimate entire crops if they develop into enormous, flying swarms.[2]


Warmer temperatures and more abundant rains linked to locust outbreaks

Climate change may influence the South American locust in two ways, says University of Wyoming Extension Entomologist Alex Latchininsky. 

More abundant rains in its breeding areas could trigger an outbreak due to likely producing three generations instead of one, and higher temperatures may allow the locust to expand its range to the south.[3]