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China may send 100,000 ducks into Pakistan to battle locusts

An army of 100,000 ducks may head into Pakistan to battle locusts

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Locusts swarm a residential area of Quetta, Pakistan, Friday, June 12, 2020. Pakistani officials say an outbreak of desert locusts is spreading across the country posing a threat to food security.

Locusts swarm a residential area of Quetta, Pakistan, on Friday, June 12, 2020. Pakistani officials say an outbreak of desert locusts is spreading across the country posing a threat to food security.

Arshad Butt, Associated Press

China might send an army of 100,000 ducks to Pakistan to help stop the swarm of locusts, which have invaded the country and eating crops, BBC News reports.

What’s going on?

  • Pakistancalled a state of emergency in June since locusts numbers have increased to the highest levels in two decades.
  • Experts told BBC News that one duck can eat 200 locusts per day, which makes them more effective than pesticides. Other researchers wondered whether or not it could be effective.
  • The Chinese government announced it would send a team of experts to Pakistan for targeted programs against the locusts, according to BBC News.
  • Lu Lizhi, a senior researcher with the Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told Bloomberg that ducksare “biological weapons” when it comes to locusts. Chickens can eat 70 locusts per day. But ducks can do three times the amount.

Some extra context:

  • There have been millions of insects invading Africa and the Middle East. Two waves of locusts have hit the area, creating worry among African nations about how the locusts will impact crops for the year, as I reported for the Deseret News.
  • The New Humanitarian said: “While farmers had already harvested most of their crops by the time the first generation emerged, the latest swarms are coming at the start of the planting cycle, and as new seedlings — which locusts prefer over mature crops — begin to sprout.”