Grasshoppers on devouring spree in West Khasi Hills

Correspondent Shillong, June 6 | Publish Date: 6/6/2020 1:22:59 PM IST

Swarms of grasshoppers, which have suddenly and seemingly descended from nowhere are wreaking havoc by voraciously feasting on plant leaves of economic value in a remote village in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district, an official said on Saturday.         

A team of State government officials from the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture and an entomologist from the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) for North Eastern Hill Region visited Nongthymmai, Tyngkor village to take stock of the situation. “It is not a locust that has descended on the plants but immature grasshoppers which are still in a feeding stage and are devouring bamboo leaves, banana leaves and broomstick leaves,” District Horticulture Officer of West Khasi Hills, W. Marbaniang said.           

He said swarms of grasshoppers were first discovered by the land owners on Friday when they went to clear the forest.         

“At present, the grasshoppers are concentrating approximately in five hectares of land but they are not concentrating in the particular area alone,” Marbaniang said. The horticulture officer said that the Indian Council of Agriculture Research has collected samples of the grasshoppers for further examination.        

“This is the first time that we have seen such an insect in our area. We don’t know where it came from but it is scary to see them in large numbers eating away plants,” Nestorius Lyngkhoi of the Nongthymmai said.

When asked Marbaniang as to what has caused the sudden grasshopper infestation, he said, “We are still ascertaining the reason and one of the reasons could be due to climate change.”         

State Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh said that a team has been rushed to the affected village to spray insecticide and issuing alerts as swarms of grasshoppers are descending.

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