Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Signs of the Apocalypse

End Times are here folks ...

A Swarm of Locusts ...

Addis Ababa - Swarms of locusts have invaded northwest Ethiopia, posing a serious threat to crops there and putting the region as well as the entire Horn of Africa at risk of further food shortages, officials said on Monday.

Just over a week since the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned of new locust hordes descending on Eritrea and Sudan after devastating swarms hit west and northern Africa last year, Ethiopian authorities said the pests had already been spotted in Tigray and Amhara districts.

"Some groups of locusts, most probably coming from Sudan have flown into different localities in Tigray and Amhara," said Fikre Markos, the head of the crop protection department at Ethiopia's agriculture ministry.

Peter Odiyo, director of the desert locust control organisation for eastern Africa, said aerial surveillance had been mounted to try to track the swarms but that one main group appeared to have split up making such efforts difficult.

"It is ... now flying in different groups, that is why it is difficult to get an idea of the size of the whole population", he said.

"This is worrying considering that these locusts have been troubling the whole of western Africa for several months and they are now extending towards the east," Odiyo said.

Most troubling, he said, was the potential for the locusts to lay eggs thereby increasing their possible devastation by reproducing and placing both human and livestock food stocks at risk.

"The food security part is the main concern because by damaging crops they also damage livestock and wildlife, so that the cattle might also die, not having enough grass to eat," Odiyo said.

And Not to be Outdone by their cousins, a horde of Grasshoppers in the USA ...

TOOELE, Utah (AP) — An ambitious director might look at Mitch Halligan's property and see an instant B-movie classic: "Invasion of the Grasshoppers."

The place is overrun with the greasy little bugs. With each step you take on his property, the squirmy inch-long grasshoppers jump for cover in every direction. Those that don't crunch under foot perch themselves atop tall grass stalks, crawl up pant legs or munch through gardens.

Across the road isn't much better. Grasshoppers blanketed the neighbors' entryway a few days ago and forced them to come in through the back door.

"I'd call this the closest that I've seen to a plague in a long time," Halligan said.

Grasshoppers are regular summer visitors and a perennial crop-eating pest for farmers, but this year's invasion in Tooele County west of Salt Lake City is worse than anyone can remember. Tooele County commissioners have been swamped with calls about grasshoppers, particularly by people living next to undeveloped land where grasshoppers hatch — sometimes up to 2,000 per square foot.

"There's like 100 times more grasshoppers than what we're used to," said Bruce Clegg, a county commissioner whose family has lived in the area for generations.

Many of the culprits this year are clear-winged grasshoppers, which began hatching several weeks ago and have moved like an unyielding wave across the parts of the landscape ever since.

Northeast of Tooele, the grasshoppers showed up suddenly and attacked Leana Jackson's backyard garden, infiltrated her lawn and even found their way into her house and car.

"They're just a nuisance," Jackson said.

Alone, the brown and tan grasshoppers are small and more likely to tickle than terrify. But in large numbers — and they almost always come in large numbers — they are a hungry force to be reckoned with as they search for grasses and other plants to eat.

Gosh, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, swarms of locusts AND grasshoppers, and we've got the beginnings of a bonafied Animal Uprising 2012 folks ...

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