Farmer stands in a field as locusts swarm overhead

All photos: Rijasolo/AFP/Getty Images

A farmer uses a reed to chase a swarm of locusts away from his rice field on May 7 near the Amparihibe village, near Tsiroanomandidy in western Madagascar.

The island country located off the coast of east Africa is experiencing a harrowing infestation of the Malagasy migratory locust, which threatens the livelihoods of the more than 13 million people who live there.

A single locust can eat the equivalent of its weight (about 2 grams) in a single day, and considering that a medium-sized swarm usually includes millions of individual insects, that's a whole lot of food. In a country where more than 90 percent of the population lives on meager means, the threat to the country's rice crop is a life-or-death situation.

To help tackle the locust problem, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has offered tens of millions of dollars worth of biofriendly pest control aid to fight the seasonal infestation.

Bag of locusts that will be fed to pigs

A farmer from Amparihibe village shows off a bag full of locust that will be used to feed pigs. Locusts are edible, and in some countries, they are considered delicacies.

FAO helicopter lands to help with locust problem

Armed with pesticide-spreading equipment, an FAO helicopter sent by the United Nations takes off to fight a swarm of locusts in Tsiroanomandidy.

Helicopter swoops in to help with locust problem

Locusts swarm as the FAO helicopter sprays biofriendly pesticide over crops in Tsiroanomandidy.

Locust close-up

A member of the FAO technical team holds up a locust in Tsiroanomandidy.

Locusts ravaging farmland

A swarm of locusts flies over Amparihibe village.

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Locust swarms wreak havoc on Madagascar's farmlands
The island country is currently experiencing a harrowing seasonal infestation of the Malagasy migratory locust.