Bug Blog

Locusts Don’t Require Much Energy To Fly

It is rare these days to hear anybody mention locusts. In the past, before urbanization emptied the countryside, locusts were insects to be feared. Now a young adult is more likely to see locusts in some Netflix horror movie than witness them in real life. Like many insects, it could be said that locusts are not well understood by the general public. While it is true that they are crop pests, they do not descend upon crops as often as some people may suppose. Given the many biblical locust references, it is no wonder why people think that locusts are evil creatures that are looking to destroy every crop that they encounter. In reality, locusts are interesting insects that can do many things which other insects cannot. For example, the size of their swarms can partially block the sun’s rays. Millions of locusts can swarm at one time, and when this happens, the sight is something to behold. In addition to their massive swarms, locusts are the most efficient flyers in the insect kingdom. For years scientists have been struggling to understand how locusts maintain constant flight despite not possessing many bodily features that promote flight. A recent study has shown that locusts fly in an interesting manner that does not require much energy expenditure.

Despite not being able to produce much thrust and lift, locusts are capable of maintaining prolonged and steady flights. Amazingly, even in climatic conditions that involve harsh weather such as strong winds and extreme high or low temperatures, a locust’s perfectly straight flying trajectory is not altered by wind even a little bit. Not only that, but locusts do not need to expend energy correcting their trajectories in response to wind. This ability is truly unique among all animals. Also, locusts can create the necessary amount of lift by curling their wings. This ability allows locusts to travel eighty kilometers in one day without stopping.

Has a locust ever made impact with your face, like flies or gnats sometimes do? Have you ever witnessed a locust swarm?