Europe

Locusts destroy crops in 'worst invasion in Sardinia for 60 years'

A locust feasting on vegetation
Image caption Locusts have reportedly destroyed 2,000 hectares of crops in Sardinia (stock photo)

A huge plague of locusts is wreaking havoc on the Italian island of Sardinia in the worst insect invasion in more than 60 years, local media report.

Large swarms are destroying crops and invading homes in Ottana and Orani in the central province of Nuoro.

More than 2,000 hectares of farmland has been destroyed by "blankets" of the insects, reports said.

The locust invasion has been linked to a recent rise in temperatures after months of cooler weather on the island.

"There are millions in the countryside," the Italian farmers' association Coldiretti warned in a statement on Monday.

"The locusts emerge on uncultivated land, but then they go to cultivated land to eat," the group said, adding that there was little that could now be done to remedy the situation.

At least 12 farms have been affected, with animal grazing pastures ruined and "little left to harvest", Italy's La Stampa newspaper reported.

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Media captionScientists at three British universities have researched why locusts swarm

Locusts usually appear on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia in the summer months, between June and August.

On the mainland, Northern Italy is also battling a plague of brown marmorated stink bugs, which are destroying swathes of fruit trees, Coldiretti added.

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