Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Flaky rehab

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Coordinated Primitive War on Locusts

Simple, and maybe a more effective method to wage the all important War on Locusts [it's a bit of a long and boring text, my apologies, but make sure to check out the picture in the link on China + Ducks]
  [vote for,

-all over the world locusts devastate food crops worth millions of dollars - they often threaten the food security of thousands, sometimes millions of people.

-locusts are highly mobile and can suddenly change from a solitary state into a gregarious one, forming huge biblical swarms, coloring the skies black.

Ok. How to combat this fascinating but destructive plague?

Traditionally the FAO's Locust Combat Service, state governments and other bodies, organize military style pesticide spraying campaigns, using airplanes, helicopters and trucks. This is extremely costly. (See link: the FAO is asking for US$ 80 million to contain the most recent plague in the Sahel; Algeria has sent in 15000 army troops; China commits 100,000 (!!) troops; forget the war on terror; the war on locusts is far more important).

The problem with this method is that often pesticides are not available in sufficient quantities, they are very ecologically damaging, and they often come too late.

*My new method would be more "primitive" in that it doesn't use pesticides, but simple nets to capture the bugs. The trick is in preemtively providing strategically located villages all over the country with agricultural nets, which they can use throughout the entire year. They lease the nets, and sign a contract assuring to hand them over in an emergency situation. This is a win - win situation for the farmers. (Their crops are protected against other pests, all year round - and in an emergency they serve as the basic tool for the WOL).

This is an investment, but since the locust plagues occur regularly, it will be worth it.

Now in the event of a locust outbreak, just locate the swarm, and time things well (at night they remain in one spot). Call on all nearby villages to bring in their nets, and spread them out over the insects. Villages can easily be clustered with a GIS system, GPS etc....

I've calculated this, and it is far more economical to combat the plagues this way, provided that you make the initial investment.

Moreover, using the nets, you not only prevent ecological damage, but you can actually use the locusts as a highly nutritious fodder component (it could substitute fish meal in the feeds for aquaculture, or poultry). This would even make combatting the plague a profitable business (provided that you can use cheap labor -- logistically this may pose challenges, but you can easily turn the locusts into a simple meal, to be used by the local meat producing markets).

-In short: this "distributed" netting plan has lots of advantages over spraying, which costs a lot, damages the environment, and turns the locusts into waste material.

That's it.

[There are plenty of news articles with titles like "famine fears" - "dark skies, dark future" - "catastrophe of biblical proportions" - etc... These swarms really have a mythical power]

django, Aug 17 2004

Locust invasion threatens summer crops in Sahel countries http://www.fao.org/...04/49294/index.html
"FAO urged donor countries to provide additional funds in support of massive national locust control operations. Many affected countries do not have sufficient resources to control swarms and avoid serious crop losses this summer, FAO warned. Aircraft, pesticides, vehicles, sprayers and technical support are lacking in all affected countries. [django, Oct 04 2004]

The Latest Situation http://www.fao.org/...OCUSTS/Locuhome.htm
[django, Oct 04 2004]

Invasion threatens to overwhelm Sahel agriculture http://www.fao.org/...04/49307/index.html
"If locusts get my field, it is a real catastrophe" [django, Oct 04 2004]

Cash shortage hits locust battle http://news.bbc.co..../africa/3551008.stm
[django, Oct 04 2004]

Australia faces the same problem, though less frequently http://news.bbc.co....pacific/3518782.stm
Great picture. And just LOOK at all that bio-mass! [django, Oct 04 2004]

Beijing Fried Duck http://news.bbc.co....pacific/2038678.stm
China fights locusts with an army of ducks [django, Oct 04 2004]

*UPDATE: this is getting serious! http://news.bbc.co..../africa/3580092.stm
Poor people, something needs to be done [django, Oct 04 2004]

Give them all polaroid sunglasses http://news.bbc.co....ci/tech/4686527.stm
[AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 19 2005]


       Interesting. I like the net idea but would prefer, in my childish way, to have thousands of butterfly nets handed out for school children to go locust hunting with. Croissant from me though.

I like the Chinese Duck method too.
DrBob, Aug 17 2004

       That's some good half baking there, bud.
DocBrown, Aug 17 2004

       From the article, it looks like ducks are pretty compulsive eaters [bwv61] - not much force feeding going on. Personally, I can't help but admire the careful, evil plotting behind the interlinking of [django]'s ideas.   

       Besides, you can keep a supply of locusts to fry - all [django]'s ducks will clear is the plagues, which are a threat to crops and humans and stuff.
DocBrown, Aug 17 2004

       [bwv61] poor [wo]man! you simply have too much stress and bad cholestorol. You know the treatment. :-)
django, Aug 17 2004

       in that case: even an extra large BFD won't save you. You are just in time, I've just posted an idea on Stratospheric Ash Scattering.   

       How can I help you?
django, Aug 17 2004

       I'd like an order of fried Duck with a diet Coke and some locust fries, please. Can you Super Size that?
Ichthus, Aug 17 2004

       I don't know first hand about ducks and locusts, but we have here our summer cockroach invasion and my four dogs keep the house bug-free (and that saves in dog food, too). Only I'm not ready to make them into dog stew when cockroaches are no more. I believe locust omelette "a la partisan" is very good, too. Combine all and we'll be eating locust boullabaise in no time. Locust hot dogs. Locust hamburguers. Locust marzipan. Mmmmm. Hey ! . Do you suppose cockroaches are eatable too ? .
finflazo, Aug 22 2004

       Sorry for the light tone of my previous entry. This is a very real problem. A friend of mine pilots a crop duster engaged in fighting the locust treat and it's hard to believe what he tells. Perhaps the locusts could be canned and sold and the profits used to help the damaged and combat the plage. I wouldn't eat a can of locusts (or perhaps...) but I sure would buy several just to help. You can then show then proudly to friends (or ennemys..).
finflazo, Aug 22 2004

       But mortaring locusts would invariably, as is the nature of high-speed combustibles, destroy the crops that they were sitting on. The crops we were trying to protect, from the locusts, that you just mortared.
Sattamassagana, Aug 23 2004

       //rip off these patches and jam a half-back between my lips!//   

       That's quite enough of your gutter talk young lady. I'm sure that nice footballer has much better things to do with his time.
ConsulFlaminicus, Aug 24 2004

       A good way to avoid the use of pesticides gets my bun. (Honestly, I didn't read this for the longest time because the title sounded like it was going to be "I hate locusts; let's kill them all"--but it's a good idea in fact.) Maybe I didn't read carefully enough, but I don't quite get all the details--is there always a net over the crops to keep the locusts off, so when they settle a second net can be placed over it with the locusts sandwiched in between, or is the first net placed over the top of the already-sacrificed field of crops?
Etymon, Aug 24 2004

       Etymon, excellent questions indeed. Here's some info which will clear them up.   

       1. The idea is to give local peasants a net to protect their crops year round (against other instects than locusts). These farmers have rather small lands. In times of an outbreak, it's the combination of their nets that will do the trick.   

       2. When locusts have transformed from their solitary state to a gregarious one, they will start to look for patches of green in the desert. They will raid a few fields (which are protected by the nets). But now comes the crucial part: at night, they settle down in huge numbers, and they don't fly. They come together and assemble. They no longer eat at night, so you find them often away from fields. This is the time to catch them.   

       3. Now coordinate the war; issue a warning to all villages in the vicinity of the swarm to sacrifice their nets, and strike.   

       It must be done within a timespan of 6 to 8 hours, which is logistically feasible. If you do not succeed and the sun rises, you will come too late.   

       If you do succeed, you have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars of insecticides, crops and manhours, and you have won the war without damaging the environment.   

       The idea is just a matter of bringin together several factors like geography, logistics and the bio-rythm of the locusts.
django, Aug 24 2004

       Makes sense to me.
Etymon, Aug 25 2004

       With France facing a decent-sized locust plague at the moment, this seems like a more timely idea. I have my own (which I'll post momentarily), but this is pretty good, and especially effective for areas that depend on crops for every breath of life.   

       Plus, it'd be pretty cool to see whole villages decked out in anti-locust battle rattle and waging war on the world's second-most successful pests.
shapu, Jul 18 2005

       This is an awesome idea, and it'd be pretty funny to see them in the net. I'm wondering what happens to the locust swarms these days. Do they usually gas the clustered locusts, or do they spray the crops directly?
Madcat, Jul 18 2005

       I think I prefer the chinese method.
PauloSargaco, Jul 19 2005

       It seems to me that if villagers can locate a swarm of locusts which has bunked down for the night, and this swarm is so discrete that people are going to try to put nets over them to capture them, it would be easier and more reliable to hose the sleeping swarm with insecticide. The dead bugs can still be collected and used for fertilizer or fish food.
bungston, Jul 31 2006


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle