Updated 05:47 PM EDT, Mon, May 17, 2021

Argentina Locust Plague Terrifies Citizens: Is it a Sign from God or an Effect of Climate Change?

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Locusts are swarming around Argentina, much to the dismay of farmers and agricultural authorities. Fumigators in Argentina are continuing their efforts in exterminating the pests. According to The New York Times, the swarms are now about the same size as Delaware.

Diego Quiroga, the chief of vegetative protection, said that the current situation is the worst in 60 years. "It's impossible to eradicate; the plague has already established itself. We're just acting to make sure it's the smallest it can be and does the least damage possible."

Time noted that the locusts started appearing around June, but has now spread, making it more difficult for officials to control the insects. Last year, farmers reported that locust clouds came up to over four miles long and nearly two miles high.

Why the swarms came still remains a question. However, other cultures see the phenomenon as something completely different: the signal of the end of our days, from God.

As noted by the International Business Times, the first five chapters of the Old Testament detailed the appearance of locust swarms as the eighth plague that God cast on Egypt to punish them for their sins.

Argentines, meanwhile, blame the problem on their former president, Cristina Kirchner, for dismissing climate change warnings, despite reports that they were linked to the appearance of the said locust swarms. However, there is no study that proves the correlation between climate change and the sudden increase in locust populations.

The National Geographic mentioned that the small insects are similar to grasshoppers. While they are often solitary, they become more active and travel in swarms at certain points in their life cycle. They can also eat their weight in plants, which means that if a swarm covers 460 square miles with 40-80 million per square mile, they can eat up to 423 million pounds of vegetation per day. This makes them especially problematic for farmers.

The pests are currently haunting Argentina, which, for almost 200 years, has used rustic methods to drive away the swarms. However, with bonfires not enough to drive away the menacing animals, fumigators with backpack sprayers are now making rounds around the affected areas in Argentina, extinguishing pockets of young locusts that are not yet able to fly.

Farmers' representative Juan Pablo Karnatz said, "We don't know exactly where we're at. We may have contained some pockets, but it's not a definitive victory."

He also added, "If they fly, it could be disastrous."

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