Hold off on too many Biblical comparisons….
From the NYTimes article:
Israel first announced that it was on “locust alert” on Monday, after large swarms were spotted in the Cairo area. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warned that wind and climate conditions increased the chances of an entomological cross-border invasion.
The Ministry of Agriculture set up a hot line for swarm sightings. By Tuesday, grasshoppers the size of small birds were reported on balconies and in gardens in central and northern Israel. But the largest concentration, an ominous black cloud of millions, settled for the night near the tiny rural village of Kmehin in Israel’s southern Negev desert, not far from the border with Egypt.
Potato farmers in the area complained that their fields were being ruined. Drivers said they could not see through their windshields for all the bugs flying in their direction.
On the up side, some considered the curse almost a blessing. The popular Channel 2 television news showed delighted Thai agricultural workers frying up locusts for a crunchy snack. The Israeli television crew munched on a few too, noting that locusts are considered kosher.
The Agriculture Ministry said it was the first time that Israel had seen locusts since 2005, and recalled an even worse invasion in the 1950s.
Stav Talal, a researcher from Tel Aviv University who went south to gather samples of the invaders, told the Hebrew news Web site Ynet that the locusts had originated from the deserts of Sudan and had moved north in search of food. But he added that the conditions in Israel were not ideal for the locusts, the relative cold making it hard for them to multiply.
“As I understand it,” Mr. Talal said, “they did not come here in droves.”