China uses drones to attack locust swarms

Business & Technology

A broad swath of countries from Kenya to Pakistan to Laos has been dealing with huge swarms of locusts this summer. China is the latest victim.

a swarm of locusts
Locusts have attacked crops in East Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and now China. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

In response to recent swarms of locusts that have devoured acres of crops in southwest China, authorities in Yunnan have dispatched more than 50 fleets of pesticide-spraying drones throughout the province.

Yellow-spined bamboo locusts, native to China and Southeast Asia, have been sweeping through Yunnan Province this July after migrating from neighboring countries, notably Laos.

This summer, they have caused a greater amount of damage than in years past, wiping out more than 8,900 hectares of land.

  • China has not been the only country hit by the locust plague. Earlier this year, countries in East Africa were invaded by desert locusts, leading to significant food shortages.
  • Pakistan has also been battling these pests and issued a national emergency in February. China recently donated 12 drones to aid in Pakistan’s pest control efforts.

Rising global temperatures contribute to the increased severity of the locust problem this year.

  • Locust eggs are surviving through the winter and hatching in large quantities once the warm weather arrives.
  • An increase in rainfall and moisture creates ideal breeding conditions and leads to their rapid reproduction.