Argentina Infested With Swarms of Locusts

The locusts first arrived in the country last July.

BySTEVIE BORRELLO
February 1, 2016, 4:06 PM

— -- The recent images and videos of locusts swarming farms and villages in Argentina are not part of a Hollywood movie. These images are very much real.

Thousands of locusts are infesting farmlands in Catamarca, Santiago del Estero, Tucuman and Córdoba. The locusts first arrived in Argentina in Santiago del Estero last July. This video shows thousands of locusts swarming across a field. Other videos show locusts covering trees and exteriors of buildings.

VIDEO: Locusts Swarm Farms in Argentina
So far, there have been over 100 outbreaks of locusts across Argentina in January.

"The last government didn't care about this situation. This is changing with the new government," Juan Pablo Karnatz, a member of the Board of Rural Confederations of Argentina, wrote in an email to ABC News.

This is the worst locust attack in the country in over 50 years, according to the Rural Confederations of Argentina. There are currently more than 100 outbreaks in Argentina that have affected more than 700,000 hectares of land.

Government officials in Argentina have been grappling with how to control the infestation. SENASA, the government agricultural inspection agency, has created a hotline for people to call if they spot any locusts.

PHOTO: To combat against the locust infestation, SENASA, the government agricultural inspection agency, has created a hotline for people to call if they spot locusts in their area in this undated photo.
To combat against the locust infestation, SENASA, the government agricultural inspection agency, has created a hotline for people to call if they spot locusts in their area in this undated photo.
Courtesy Juan Pablo Karnatz

If locusts are not fumigated before they mature, "they can become millions and eat all the production of the farms. They eat all they can get," Karnatz wrote.

Karnatz believes the plague can come under control this year "but not eliminated."

PHOTO: A man in Argentina holds a locust in an undated handout photo from CRA.
A man in Argentina holds a locust in an undated handout photo from CRA.
CRA

SENASA official Rafael Rodríguez Prados said in a statement on Jan. 7 (translated from Spanish), “We know that the locust is a voracious pest that threatens crops, pastures and natural forests and we understand that control is a task that involves us all. That’s why we invited provincial institutions, municipal, communal and producers to participate in this meeting to define coordinated actions necessary for success against the scourge.”

There are also warnings of locust outbreaks in northwest Africa, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, according to a press release from the United Nations. The heavy rains from El Nino and tropical cyclones Chapala and Megh could potentially cause two generations of breeding to occur in those areas if the heavy rains continue this year.

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