Green zombie fungus ‘holds key’ to fighting apocalyptic African locust plague

Green zombie fungus could hold the key to fighting off a plague of locusts ravaging parts of east Africa.

Chinese factories are producing thousands of tonnes of the fungi in a bid to kill the pests which post a risk of famine to the continent.

Nearly 50 species of fungi have been genetically modified to create the fungus which will be used as a biological insecticide.

The killer fungus has a devastating effect on the locusts, drilling through the insects' hard exoskeleton and gradually poisoning them.

Scientists named the discovery green zombie fungus because it gradually turns locusts in a green mossy lump.

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Factories are set up in a similar way to breweries, which grow spores and keep them in careful controlled environment.

The plant is particularly needed in parts of east Africa, where abnormally high levels of rainfall during the dry season allowed hundreds of billions of locusts to hatch.

Swarms of locusts have appeared in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and are now moving on to neighbouring towns.

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The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation warned the situation may be the “worst in decades,” affection 13 million people.

Production of that fungus has been halted in some factories due to the need to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Marketing Manager, of a Production Plant in Jiangxi Province: “I am sending off a truckload right now.

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“Our stock is running out, some customers need it urgently.

“They need it to kill the locusts.”

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