I have always associated locusts with Africa and the Middle East (all those Biblical plagues in the Old Testament) so I was very surprised to pick up this book entitled ‘Locust: the devastating rise and mysterious disappearance of the insect that shaped the American frontier’ by Jeffrey Lockwood. He is an academic entymologist from the University of Wyoming and writes ‘Locust outbreaks have occurred on every inhabited continent‘ which was something that I did not know. Another reason that I was interested is that next year we are driving from New York to San Francisco and following the tracks of some of those who pushed the American frontier westwards. There are numerous historical accounts of the devastation caused by swarms of locusts but why an apparently healthy population of the Rocky Mountain locust should subsequently disappear was a mystery. Lockwood writes a fascinating account of the careful scientific method and hours spent on cold glaciers to unravel the reasons. It is almost a thriller and one I will come back to.
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