Locusts that bred in southern Egypt first swarmed Cairo, causing panic in Israel and Jordan, and now Lebanese farmers are battling the pests as well. Farmers in the north and south of Lebanon reported locust clouds over the weekend and expressed concern over the impact the insects would have on their crops. But the Agriculture Ministry told the National News Agency that these locusts pose no real threat.
Not long after swarms descended on a host of Cairene neighborhoods, what must be the same swarm was spotted in Koura, Tripoli, Zghota and Akkar in the north of Lebanon, as well as Tyre and the Liteni River down south, according to Daily Star.
Some sources say that unseasonably high temperatures are partially to blame.
The general director of the Agriculture Ministry, Louis Lahhoud, told local press that they responded immediately upon hearing reports of locust swarms.
Although farmers already plagued by climate-related battles worried that their crops were in danger of being devoured, the Ministry claims that the locusts are harmless.
“As soon as we heard the news, we were on high alert and conducted a comprehensive survey on the ground,” Lahhoud told the NNA. He then added that there is no reason to panic since there is “nothing scary so far.”
Mohammad Abu Zeid, who heads the Ministry’s livestock department, said that since the locusts are not yet in their mature phase, they are not capable of the same kind of destruction as more fully developed insects.
Might they provide fodder for a tasty locust treat? Click here for a crunchy locust recipe.
:: Daily Star
Image of copulating locusts courtesy of Wikipedia