The desert locust is a species of swarming short-horned grasshopper in the family of Acrididae. Plagues of desert locusts have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. Desert locusts are one of the most devastating migratory pests in the world and are highly mobile and feed on large quantities of any kind of green vegetation, including crops, pasture, and fodder. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Desert Locusts last infested Rwanda in the 1930s. Earlier last week, Rwanda Meteorological Agency announced that the locusts were likely to invade Rwanda between the next ten and 14 days, depending on the weather patterns. The New Times collected basic information one needs to know about desert locusts. Do locusts bite humans? Locusts do not bite people like mosquitoes or ticks since locusts eat plants. While it is unlikely that locusts would bite, they might nibble on someone without breaking the skin or pinch someone to help defend themselves. Are Locusts harmful? The desert locust is potentially the most dangerous of the locust pests because of the ability of swarms to fly rapidly across great distances. It has two to five generations per year. Locusts also have the ability to change their color to blend in with the environment. What do Desert Locusts eat? A desert locust swarm can be 460 square miles in size and pack between 40 and 80 million locusts into less than half a square mile. Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day, so a swarm of such size would eat 423 million pounds of plants every day. How long do desert locusts live? A Desert Locust lives a total of about three to five months although this is extremely variable and depends mostly on weather and ecological conditions. The life cycle comprises three stages: egg, hopper and adult. Cold weather can discourage locust’s development and eventually stop the swarms. Can locusts kill you? Locusts do not attack people or animals. There is no evidence that suggests that locusts carry diseases that could harm humans. Instead, Food and Agriculture Organization approved that locusts are actually rich in protein. During periods of increased locust activity, piles of dead locusts can be found in the market places of many locust affected countries. Do Desert Locust plagues occur with any regularity? There is no evidence that Desert Locust plagues occur after a specific number of years. Instead, plagues develop intermittently. Plagues of locusts have been reported since the Pharaonic times in ancient Egypt. How many eggs does a Desert Locust female produce? Desert Locust females lay eggs in an egg pod primarily in sandy soils at a depth of 10-15 centimetres below the surface. A solitary female lays about 95-158 eggs whereas a gregarious female lays usually less than 80 eggs in an egg pod. How far and how fast can Desert Locusts migrate? Up to 1,000 egg pods have been found in one square metre. Desert Locusts usually fly with the wind at a speed of about 16-19 km/h depending on the wind. Swarms can travel about 5-130 km or more in a day.