Bug-picture, a company in Kenya, East Africa has by means of innovation devised a method to help farmers fight back against locusts when darkness falls by harvesting them.
The method involves keeping track of the movement of the pests until when the sun sets, and when the locusts settle down for the night, having lost the energy to fly away after a long day of eating crops, the company organises local people with the use of torch lights to harvest them by picking, from the trees.
Kenya has been faced with the influx of swarms of desert locusts in recent times which have become threatening to farms and plantations as they continue to destroy leaves and devour crops on sight in what is seen as the worst locust out break which the country has faced in seventy years.
An account from Natalina Lopeyok, a livelihood officer in Turkana County, Kenya, explaining how the harvest is done states as follows:
“We get information from the local scouts in various locations. So once we get information that they (locusts) have been located in an area, so we start pursuing them and normally they set off at around 10 am. in the morning. So we start following them as they move on so by around 5 pm. to 7 pm. that is the time they want to roost
“So once they roost we mobilise communities around those areas to harvest them overnight because that is when it’s most appropriate to harvest locusts, it’s at night when they actually are sleepy, they have little energy to move and they are also very lazy. So we harvest them overnight until 6 am. in the morning”
When caught, harvested locusts are ground up and dried, and turned into animal feed and fertiliser. This harvest of locusts has proven to be a viable source of income for many locals who are using it to provide their basic needs as the harvesters weigh their haul at dawn after catching the swarms and are paid for what they have caught.