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Maths of Planet Earth | Limitless Applications

Classroom Resources 0 l

Published on August 15th, 2013 | by Simi


Locust swarm

A July 2010 Courier Mail article “Plagues hit state’s west” contains an estimate that a single swarm of locusts could cover 465 hectares with up to 50 locusts per square metre. The article was written because at the time there was a spur-throated locust plague affecting the area around Barcaldine, Blackall, and Tambo in central Queensland.

You can imagine frustrated farmers saying “There are millions of them out there!”

Are there millions, or is that an exaggeration?

a Find an estimate for the number of locusts in the swarm described in the paragraph above.

b The daily consumption of an entire swarm can be taken to be about 200 million kilograms. Find an estimate for the average daily consumption of a single locust.


Derived from a problem of Bob Nelder





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