Chinese Government Enlists Ducks to Fight Locusts

A natural solution to a vexing problem

A duck
Ducks: not what you want to see if you're a locust, apparently.
HarshLight/Creative Commons

For farmers, few sights are as ominous as a swarm of locusts. The insects have a penchant for devouring crops in massive quantities, and they’ve had a devastating effect on certain regions of the world. Earlier this year, a plague of locusts threatened eastern Africa — causing a massive amount of destruction as they went. An article at WIRED dubbed it “a plague of biblical proportions.”

Now, the Chinese government is working on a possible solution to locust infestations both at home and abroad. It’s also one that doesn’t involve the specter of pesticides. Instead, as the saying goes, it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Or, more precisely, it walks like 100,000 ducks.

The BBC reports that China is testing a duck-based remedy to locusts. Initially, the Chinese government will deploy ducks to the province of Xinjiang. According to the article, ducks can eat over 200 locusts a day. If that goes well, the project will be exported to Pakistan, with 100,000 ducks conscripted into making a meal of the locusts that have plagued farmers there.

The diplomatic relationship between China and Pakistan has a long history and has taken several forms in recent years. However, this may well be the first instance of one country offering another agricultural assistance in the form of waterfowl.

In their article, the BBC notes that China has used a duck-based locust remediation program before, including one effort involving 30,000 ducks that took place in 2000.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.


The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.