The attack of a “carpets of locusts” is being described as a “biblical” invasion, by Italian newspaper La Nuova Sardegna. The plague of short-horned grasshoppers is thought to be one of the worst in 60 years and has caused havoc across farms and homes in the central province of Nuoro. In a statement, the Italian farming association Coldiretti stated there was up to a million locusts in the countryside.
It added: “The locusts emerge on uncultivated land, but then they go to cultivated land to eat.”
Leonardo Salis, president of association, said the insects had been “devouring everything they encounter” and had even left “animals without grassland”.
He added the pests risk “seriously compromising part of the harvest”.
It is understood up to 12 farms have been affected with 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) destroyed.
Mr Salis warned locusts have also caused “considerable damage” to other parts of the Mediterranean island.
Farmers have tried to lay bales of hay in order to try and protect their livestock.
The association has sought help from the Government to try and tackle the problem but acknowledged the damage may have already been done.
Mr Salis added: “We have turned to institutions at all levels – municipality, provincial and regional – to tackle the problem, despite knowing that for the current season we are late.”
Alexandre Latchininsky of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation could not pinpoint a reason the surprise invasion.
Locusts have been a thorn for many in the industry and usually lay their eggs in the Autumn before coming to life between June and August.
However the farming association believes the swarm has been spiked by a rise in temperature at the beginning of the month following a cooler May than usual.