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Locust Plague Mounts Across Interior Australia April 23, 2010
Australia vegetation anomaly graphic
An abundance of rare, lush vegetation is luring locusts across the Australian Outback.
Weeks of wet weather that brought rare lush vegetation to Australia’s normally arid interior has proven irresistible to swarms of locusts that are now ravaging the Outback.

The insects are more than unwelcome to the region’s farmers who have suffered from a decade of drought and now must deal with a locust plague since the rain has returned.

The worst swarms in 30 years have already wiped out thousands of acres of crops, as well as ravaging even larger tracts of pasture, according to agriculture officials.

Farmers fear that there will be even more losses later this year when new generations of locusts hatch during September and October.

One pizza maker in northern Victoria is trying to cash in on the infestation by offering the protein-rich locusts as a topping.

Car washes are reporting a “quadrupling” of business from owners of locust-slimed vehicles looking for a quick rinse.

Graphic: U.S. Department of Agriculture — NASA