Swarm of locusts brings traffic to a standstill in Bahrain

Huge swarm of locusts brings traffic to a standstill in Bahrain after spreading across Saudi Arabia because of strong winds

  • Video shows the locusts landing on cars on the three-lane highway in Bahrain 
  • Drivers are seen sounding horns as insects start landing on their windscreens 
  • Bahrain’s Agriculture and Marine Resources Department said ‘no need to panic’
  • Larger swarm recently decimated food supplies across Ethiopia and Kenya

A huge swarm of locusts stopped traffic on a major highway in Bahrain yesterday, as the insects entered the country on high winds.

Terrifying video shows the insects landing on car windscreens as a large column flies overhead.

The swarm is thought to have spread from Saudi Arabia, where they had been seen in regions including Riyadh, Mecca and Qassim, because to strong winds.

However Bahrain’s Agriculture and Marine Resources Department said there was ‘no need to panic’ and that they are monitoring the locusts, reports News of Bahrain.

Experts explained the outbreak was caused by an atmospheric depression that contributed to transporting the insects from Yemen and Oman to Damman, Al-Ahsa and Buqayq in Saudi Arabia.

A terrifying clip of the swarm shared online shows a column of the insects blacken the sky as they fly over the three-lane highway in Bahrain.

Cars are seen slowing to a near standstill and sounding their horns as the insects start landing on their windscreens, obstructing vision.

The swarm of locusts was pictured flying through the sky in a huge column in Bahrain

Several also landed on the road and windscreens, forcing cars to slow to a standstill

The driver and passenger are heard exclaiming shock and disgust in the video. 

Footage posted on social media also showed locusts landing in swarms on highways, in people’s front gardens and in their swimming pools.

It comes after a much larger swarm – thought to number 360 billion – decimated food supplies across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. The insects have also damaged crops in Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Uganda, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian crisis. Countries have deployed planes to spread pesticide on the swarms and Uganda has even called in its army.  

Cars are also heard sounding their horns in the terrifying clip

The huge locust swarm began in east Ethiopia and central Somalia before spreading down into Kenya and Uganda

The insects have travelled in swarms the size of Moscow in Africa and experts have warned that a second swarm could emerge in April as young locusts left by previous swarms mature.

The UN has urgently called for $76million to help pay for aircraft and pesticides to control the spread.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has offered to donate $8million after a visit to Ethiopia.

Rain expected in the coming weeks will bring fresh vegetation and, with it, an anticipated explosion in locust numbers. 

Desert locusts are usually solitary but undergo a change when kept in large groups

Swarm of locusts pictured covering a tree in Otuke, Kenya, on February 17

There have been six major desert locust plagues in the 1900s, the last of which was in 1987-89. The last major upsurge was in 2003-05.

Desert locusts are typically solitary creatures, but can form into huge swarms under the right conditions.

It is thought that heavy rainfall, which causes the population to boom, followed by a drought which forces the creatures into a smaller area is to blame.

As the group is forced together the locusts’ bodies flood with a hormone called serotonin, which produces the swarming behaviour.

The change is so dramatic, that for decades scientists thought the solitary locusts and swarming variety were actually two different species, until it was disproved.

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