In what has been described as a near-biblical scene, millions of locusts are invading farmlands in southern Russia devastating crops and inflicting severe damage on farmers.
The insects have already feasted on nearly 10% of the crops and continue to wreak havoc forcing officials to declare a state of emergency in three regions. They say this scale of devastation by insects has not been witnessed in three decades.
Since the plague began in late July, the locust swarms have covered about 90,000 hectares in Astrakhan region in southern Russia. The fast-moving insects are covering dozens of kilometres everyday wiping out entire fields of crops.
"In Kalmikya, Astrakhan, Volgagrad and Dagestan, there is already no food left for the locusts, so they have moved on to other sources of food. They have wingspans of nearly 12 centimetres, like small sparrows," said Tatiana Drishcheva of the Russian Agricultural Centre, according to CNN.
Locals are increasingly frustrated over the government's efforts as aerial pesticide-spraying has had little impact on the locust swarms.
The locusts descend on the area every year largely because of the abundance of breeding grounds and empty farmlands. However, the dry weather this year has facilitated the rapid multiplication of the creatures.