In recent days, small swarms of locusts have been observed in the Arava desert, Eilat, and the Dead Sea areas, including along Route 90 and the agricultural and green areas in southern Israel. A few individuals were also observed in central Israel, as far north as the Netanya area.
מכת ארבה בערבה.
שדה חמניות בפארן pic.twitter.com/AphSZmaJw2
— david toren (Turgeman) (@davidtoren1) April 24, 2021
The locust swarms came to Israel from Saudi Arabia with the help of strong winds and should be leaving the area with the change in wind direction. It is not expected that a significant swarm will arrive in Israel in the near future. This time of year, when temperatures are rising and humidity is falling, a sudden wind from the right suitable direction is enough to propel a small part of the large locust swarms to reach southern Israel.
Amir Balaban, Director of Urban Nature at the Society for the Protection of Nature, told Israel’s agriculture portal Israel.AgriSupportOnline.com that “the arriving individuals are mature, which is evident from their total-yellow color, and they have a wonderful ability to fly.”
Balaban added that “in the area of Kibbutz Lotan, hundreds of bee-eater birds (Merops) who are making their way from Africa to Europe these days, stop on the fences around the kibbutz to feast on the migratory locusts that land in the area. This is also a crazy protein festival for the desert wildlife, and, like the bee eaters, many migratory birds feed on locusts on their northbound migration.”
Locusts cause a lot of damage to the harvest and eat an amount equal to their body weight every day. Their widespread distribution is close to 30 million square kilometers in 60 countries, and the number of adults can range from 40 to 80 million per group per square kilometer.
Locust swarms do not endanger humans and animals and are only a nuisance in the air and harmful to agriculture.