The skies above southeastern Mexico darkened last Tuesday afternoon as miles-long swarms of locusts flooded over Mérida, the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán.
One Latin American newspaper covering the incident quoted the Book of Revelation 9:3, ‘And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.’
But local officials were less dire, telling reporters that the locusts were expected to finish passing through the city in about two days without endangering local crops.
What is Central American locust (CAL)?
Technically known as the Central American locust (CAL), the insect is native to the region and hit Yucatán’s capital from rural, vegetation-rich regions to its northwest.
Yucatán, famously home to the infamous Chicxulub impact crater that heralded the apocalyptic end of the dinosaurs, is located far south of the US-Mexican border.
‘I won’t open my mouth again!’ one local posted to X (formerly Twitter).
The poster, described on the platform as a local tutor, joked that researchers in Mérida have been ‘barely studying Chicxulub’s crater’ and are already looking for another apocalyptic blow.
While the American southwest has suffered ‘Biblical’ waves of millions of Mormon crickets, killer bees and other insects this past year, there’s no indication that Mérida’s locust swarm will reach the US, yet.
Last year, however, a research initiative at Arizona State University came to the conclusion that the intensity of locust swarms is likely to ‘dramatically increase’ worldwide due to climate change — threatening crops and raising food prices.
According to local news reports from publimetro, the locust swarms were at their thickest in the western and northern areas of the state capitol.