Even as experts across the country have initiated desperate efforts to kill the massive locust swarms with methods including bio-control, researchers from Anna University are exploring the possibility of catching them for organic fertilisers.
Dr K Senthilkumar, director, Dr Kalam Advanced UAV Research Centre, Aerospace Engineering said locusts are an excellent source of protein. So they could be caught to make fertilisers and also poultry feed. “We are in touch with Rajasthan government and the Centre,” he added. Senthil Kumar said about 20 specially designed drones could be deployed for this.
Explaining the method, he said a fleet of drones flying at 300-metre altitude, carrying repelling system as payload, would map the locust density. There would be ground vehicles that would have traps and locust-attracting agents.
“Depending on the locust density and location information given by the drone, the traps are moved,” he said. Then the automatic net ejection system captures the insects. Citing an example, he said that when the fish discover a region with more food, they would quickly go to that region as a swarm. “The locusts also behave in the same way. Therefore, we could catch them like how the fish is caught,” he added.
Considering an average mass of about 20 to 30 g per locust, they would be able to catch several lakhs of insects at a time, he added.
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