A Molecule May Be Influencing Locusts to Swarm
Locusts are usually harmless, solitary insects. Yet, during the right environmental conditions, they come together to form a huge swarm. This event turns them into agricultural pests.
When the time is right, locusts congregate and even transform into larger and more voracious eaters. Swarms become bigger swarms that equal to millions of locusts that travel across continents intending to eat anything they come upon. Locusts swarms destroy crops. They consume so much that they become, collectively, a plague.
Scientists discovered that swarming locusts emit compounds that turn loner locusts into destructive, gathering insects. The findings of the study can help form techniques in preventing locust swarms. The said chemical compound might be effective in breaking up swarms.
Researchers suspect aggregation pheromones as the trigger in making solitary and migratory locusts gather in swarms. The diffused chemicals produced and released by the locusts become a scent beacon to other locusts, telling them to swarm and eat aggressively. Experts believe that this compound may lead them into turning off the locust gene that makes them swarm and destroy.