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March 8, 2013 6:07 am

Israel Escapes Locust Plague in Advance of Passover

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A locust. Photo: Wikimedia commons.

In advance of Passover, Israel has successfully escaped the plague of locust that threatened to damage the country’s agricultural industry—for now.

“Officials sprayed the flying insects with pesticide early this morning (March 6), greatly reducing the number of living, flying insects,” according to a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

One of the few ways to deal with swarms of locust is to spray them with pesticides, according to experts.

“The FAO [UN Food and Agriculture Organization] warned Israel a couple days ahead of time that swarms were likely, and the country “immediately mobilized teams [and] resources, and informed farmers and other parties so they were prepared for the locusts,” Keith Cressman, a senior locust-forecasting officer in Rome for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, told Live Science.

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The desert locusts, which originated in Egypt and Sudan, thrive in warm and wet environments. They arrived just weeks before Passover, which recounts the Jewish exodus of from Egypt. According to the Bible, one of the 10 plagues that God used to torment the Egyptians over their enslavement of the Jews was a plague of locusts.

But Israel isn’t out of the woods yet. Another swarm of may threaten the country again over the weekend.

“A small swarm could reach northeastern Egypt and the Negev on Friday or Saturday,” Cressman said.

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