There’s a reason the American midwest is called “the Heartland.” With parries and farms stretching as far as the eye can see, there are resources aplenty—and it’s those resources that keep a country’s blood pumpin’. All said, there’s no overstating the importance of farmland to a nation.

But where there are farmlands, there are also a unique set of problems that threaten crops and soil. Erosion can make the soil unusable, fires can render acres of crop to ash in moments, and pesticides can contaminate nearby water sources. Even still, you probably won’t be able to guess the culprit that destroyed nearly 114,000 hectares of agricultural land in Russia this past year.

Lucky for you, you won’t have to guess: you can see the culprit yourself, thanks to the handy video below…

Spacious skies and amber waves of grain not only cover America’s heartland, but about 40 percent of all solid ground across planet Earth. Besides providing resources and food for a nation, farms are things of beauty.

Janine Edmondson / Flickr

Of course, these luscious lands are vulnerable to some of Mother Nature’s fiercest tools of destruction. Erosion, fire, and animals of all shapes and sizes can do a lot of damage in relatively short periods of time.

Simon McCabe

Dangerous as those elements may be, they don’t quite stack up to the destructive culprit seen in this video. From the first frame, it may look like a nasty dust storm is what’s destroying nearly 114,000 hectares of agricultural land in Russia every year, but look closer…

That’s no sandstorm, folks, but a near-Biblical plague of locusts you’re seeing. And this isn’t some one-off event: there’s a summer season swarm of these things every year, and they can do some serious damage to crops…

A swarm of these can consist of 40 to 80 million locusts inside less than half a mile and spread out over 460 square miles. On a good day, a locust can eat its weight in plants, so that means a swarm has the potential to eat 423 million pounds of plant life every day. Yikes!


These swarms are no joke. Besides having the numbers to block out the sun, they move quickly. One swarm was tracked flying from northwest Africa to Great Britain—a distance of over 2,000 miles—in a single day.

The locusts have been so bad at times that Russia has been forced to announce a state of emergency. When you consider the amount of land destroyed by these insects, that isn’t completely surprising. “They devour everything,” a Russian resident told the video agency Ruptly. “They destroy green fields and there is nothing, just bare ground.”

Over the years, countless videos of these locust swarms have been uploaded to the internet, and every year, people never cease to be amazed—and horrified—at the insects zipping around with such ferocity. Here’s a view of another swarm…

Viral Hog / YouTube

To combat the problem, the Russian government has launched air and land chemical assaults on the swarm. Does it stymie the damage? Maybe, but considering the sheer numbers of these things, slowing them down may be an impossible feat.

Viral Hog / Youtube

Do you want to see what the swarm looks like? You can check out the video and see for yourself what it’s like to have insects blot out the sun down below. Be warned—it’s more than a little bit creepy!

They may not be the raging heat of a wildfire, but these locusts pack a powerful punch.

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