Similar to scenes from the biblical times, swarms of locust are making their way across parts of the Middle East ahead of the Passover holiday.
The swarm of about 30 million locusts first appeared near Cairo on March 2 and caused millions of dollars worth of crop damage in Egypt. After massing near the border, the locusts began descending on Israel on March 6.
The swarm was likely to attack agricultural areas in southern Israel.
The Israeli Agriculture Ministry is on high alert and is taking aggressive steps to combat the swarm of locust from spreading by mapping the locations of the locusts and pouring pesticides over the areas. A few locusts have already been reported in northern Israel and Tel Aviv.
Although the spraying has been fairly effective at this point, there is concern that the insecticide will adversely affect wildlife in the region.
Officials say the locust plague could get much worse with hot weather expected during the rest of this week, which is a “perfect storm” for a major invasion of locusts in the Sharon, and perhaps even further north.
Southerly winds will carry the swarms, and the winds will raise the temperatures in Israel significantly, making it easier for the locusts to jump and spread, officials said.
Temperatures are expected to hover around 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the week, with the height of the heat coming on Friday, when temperatures could reach as high as 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spraying was expected to resume Monday night in the hope of turning back at least some of the winged invaders, Ministry officials said.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s Locust Watch group is closely monitoring the situation and said there is a risk that the locusts could soon reach adjacent areas of the Aqaba Valley in Jordan.
The locust attack comes two weeks before the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which recalls a destructive plague of locusts that the Bible says was sent by God to help free the Jewish slaves.