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An Insect that Is Used as a Plague?

By Christy Lowman

Burke CountyChristy Lowman


This month I thought we would look at an insect that is talked about in the Bible. It is mentioned many times and was used to destroy crops, and as a plague. They were also occasionally useful in the Bible, like the time that John lived in the wilderness and survived by eating them and honey. Do you know what this insect is?

If you guessed locusts, you are correct. Locusts appear many times in the Bible. God used them as a plague to punish the Egyptians when Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go. He sent a swarm of them to devour every green thing in Egypt leaving absolutely no crop for the Egyptians to eat. Not only that, when the locusts were finished eating all the plants in Egypt, the Lord sent a west wind and sent them out to the Red Sea. Meaning, there were no locusts left for the Egyptians to eat except for maybe dead ones. People did and still do eat locusts. They are usually stir-fried, roasted, boiled, or dried. They are very rich in protein.

Locusts are mentioned again in the book of Revelations, where they are commanded to harm but not kill the people who are not the Lord’s people. The Lord’s people will have the seal of the Lord on their heads. This period is what is called the end of time, and the locusts are commanded to not eat anything green during this time.

Locusts are herbivores, invertebrates, and are very similar to grasshoppers. The main difference in the two is that locusts can change their behavior, which is normally solitary, into a thick mobile swarm, destroying and consuming every green plant that is in its path. Grasshoppers are not able to change their behavior. Locusts have serrated jaws that move from side to side, and they can become cannibal when plants run out.

They usually live around five months and their life has three stages: egg, hopper, and adult. They grow as long as 3 inches. The female desert locust can lay eggs up to 3 times her short life with as many as 158 eggs each time. This is during the time when she is not swarming. During swarming episodes. The female will lay fewer eggs, a maximum of 80 each time. Heavy rains will cause the eggs to hatch.

A desert locust swarm consists of 40 to 80 million locusts. They cover vast distances. Forty million locusts can eat the same amount in one day as 35,000 people.  In one day, a swarm the size of New York City eats the same as all the people in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey!

When desert locusts swarm they threaten the livelihood of 1/10th of the world’s people. Their swarming episodes cause famine, starvation, along with major agricultural damage to plants and crops.

Many countries are affected even today by the desert locust. When they are not swarming, they inhabit about 30 countries. When they are swarming their territory increases up to 60 countries.

Is it not amazing that we serve a God that commands the locusts to come and go? A God who made insects that are able to cover vast areas and eat as much as 423 million pounds a day within a huge swarm? God amazes me with the animals He has created and the purposes He created them for! Doesn’t it amaze you? Do you think you could eat a locust? I think if I was hungry enough that I could. What about you?

Dear Lord, You never cease to amaze me of Your creativity and purposes that You have created animals. The amount of thought, details, and reasoning behind each and every one You created is amazing! We can see the love you have poured into creating every living thing! We praise You and thank You for Your amazing creations! Please be with us, open our hearts and minds as we continue to learn more about them and You. In Jesus’s name Amen.




Christy Lowman is a Christian author and illustrator that lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two children. She enjoys writing and illustrating books for all ages. Some of her short stories are published with Guideposts and HCI. Christy gives all the glory to God in everything she does. A portion of every book sold from the Small Bible Character Series will be donated to battle human trafficking. If you enjoy her books, “like’ her author page on Faceook and let her know! You can buy her books at // You can reach her at //