The Garden Guide

Book: The Principles of Landscape Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 1: Entomology as Applied to Gardens

The migratory locust Locusta migratoria

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1634. The recent appearance of many specimens of the migratory locust in this country induces us to mention this most destructive of all insects in our list of obnoxious British insects. This species (Locusta migratoria) is occasionally produced in immense swarms, the countless myriads of which change the appearance of a fertile country into that of an arid desert, reducing whole districts to the most frightful want, and of which even the death is a cause of misery, from the immense number of bodies, which, from their putrefaction, infect the atmosphere with a poisonous effluvium. This statement may be thought too highly coloured; but the ravages of these insects have emerged from the domain of natural history and become portion of the materials of the history of nations, the different times of their appearance being recorded by the historian equally with those of the irruptions of barbarous hordes. Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, Southern Russia, Poland, and even Sweden, have been at times visited by the destructive swarms of this species and one or two others closely allied. Of their vast numbers some idea may be entertained when it is stated that during their flight the air is darkened as in a storm; and Barrow states that one swarm, in South Africa, covered a space of two thousand square miles.