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A Plague of Locusts

The life of an entomologist is always funny.

Yesterday I got a packed from Afghanistan with adult locust, and today I
did my job, which is to figure out what type they are....
First you look at the colours of the wings and the hindlegs. There are many
types of locust, and not to be confused with a grasshopper.
Yes, the life of a bug guy is never boring.
This is an Autralian Chortoicetes Terminifera, also called Autralian Plague
But wait a minute, the box said Afghanistan. Maybe it was mailed to the
wrong adresse first. Better double check it.
I find the box, and yes it says Afghanistan.
There is a small letter, beneath the adresse.
The soldiers from Camp Arian, (In Ghazni Province, Afghanistan) was
called out to a farmer, who found these in his field.
These "insect" was found dead or dying in a Poppy field. One was seen
eating of from a Opium plant.
So this might be the first case of Locust OD'ing....
Why am I a bug guy.?
Well it started with a girl. Jessica. Sweet, little, Latino and a cheerleader,
and She liked Butterflies
I thought maybe, if I choose a major to study Butterflies, she will like me.
But she started dating a biker the next week, and I never had a chance with
Being from a poor family you only get one chance to choose major, so I
had to stick with Entomology.
Well, I am good at it, the pay is okay and I get to dissect bugs. Yes sir, the
fun never stops.

This is a fully grown female, and yes it has been eating opium plants.
I had to get help from a childhood friend, I know in the local PD, to do a
drug test.
Joe laughed at me, when I asked him, until I said, where I got the Locust
His face change colours as the drug test changed colours to Positive for
Opium. An Autralian Plague Locust in Afghanistan, eating Opium plants.
I gave him a beer, as we sat and talked it through.
The reason I still talk with Joe, as one of the few from back home...
He is from the same town as me, and that counts when you are all alone in
a big city. He is a gamer, and he reads Sci-fi like there is no tomorrow, and
we both like a beer at the end of the day.
He is also a detectiv, and ask different questions that a Bug guy like me.
Questions like... Why would a Grasshopper eat Poppy plants.?
A Locust eats anything in it way, so that it happens to be eating opium
plants is not that weird.
Questions like... Are there Locus in Afghanistan.?
Yes, they have their own problems with Moroccan Locust.
He waits as I find some pictures of a Moroccan Locust.
Even he can see the difference between those....
Questions like... How can a grasshopper travel from Australia to
After he reject all my natural ideas, we come to .. somebody had too
transport them.
What if somebody had giving the eggs of the Locust, a little bit of heroin,
to get them hooked in Opium plants.
He says he will call some friends in the DOD, and that was the last I talked
with him.

A week later his wife calls me, and ask if I like to attend his funeral.? Was
he dead.?
Some days after we had talked, he was driving home from work.
A truck driver had fallen asleep, and plowed right into his car, when he had
stopped for a red signal at a traincrossing.
Some days later I watch the news. There are rapports about a locus
outbreak in Afghanistan.
In the right conditions the locust takes about 2 weeks to go from egg to
hopper, and about a week more to become adult.
I check the time table, and it looks about right that the Locust I got layed
eggs, just before it dead.
Locust lays up to 100 eggs. If I am right, they have spread the "Patient
Zero" locusts out into the fields, just before the Afghane summer.
Why do I think it was a somebody, and not nature... Because the Hoppers
was found in another part of the country.
The Autralian Locust has no natural enemy in Afghanistan, because it is
too different from the Moroccan Locust.
I do the fast calculation in my head. 10 Females, that lays 100 eggs, and
about 50 procent becomes Female adults in three weeks.
Second circle: 500 females lays 100 eggs, and 50 becomes females adult...
in three weeks.
Third Circle: 25.000 females lays 100 eggs, and 50 becomes females...
A locust only eat about 2 grams per day. but in 2-3 months you would have
2,5 million Locust eating 2 grams per day.
That is about 50 tons each day...
And that is from 10 Females, and if it is only a single starting point.
I turn of my phone, and turn the tv over too a foodball match.
Because, the next 3 month will be very busy...If not very funny.

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