In Saudi Arabia, something’s abuzz.
The pilgrimage site for Muslims — the Islamic holy site of Mecca — has been hit by a gigantic swarm of locusts.
Online videos show the bizarre event, with locusts crawling and flying all over the place. Take a look at the creepiness here:
The Times of Israel reports that Mecca officials have been swamped with the infestation:
“Specialized teams have been directed to work in the fight to eliminate these insects,” authorities in Mecca said, according to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site. “We have harnessed all efforts available to speed up the eradication of the insects in the interest of the safety and comfort of guests of God’s house.”
According to Newsweek, teams are focusing on nesting and breeding sites, like water drains and sanitation areas.
As Newsweek points out, the black grasshoppers aren’t dangerous to humans:
While potentially a major nuisance, locusts themselves are not known to carry diseases transmittable to humans, nor do they bite or sting. Hazal bin Mohammed al-Zafar, the head of Plant Protection Department at King Saud University’s Faculty of Food and Agricultural Sciences, told the local Sabq newspaper Monday that the “field cockroaches” were actually in the Gryllidae family, and actually more closely related to grasshoppers and crickets than domestic cockroaches.
Zafar told the outlet that locals should refrain from eating or selling the insects, while stressing that they “do not transmit diseases” and that swarming was a natural phenomenon, likely related to recent rains. He estimated that around 30,000 locusts had descended on Mecca, noting that larger swarms can reach into the hundreds of thousands.
The Daily Wire notes the significance of locusts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam:
Of course, the religious connotations behind the swarm did not go unnoticed by local media outlets in Mecca, since all three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — believe that locust swarms can signify a divine punishment from Almighty God. The locusts’ appearance in Islam’s holiest city only added to that mystique. An equivalent in Christianity would be plagues of rats or cockroaches suddenly descending upon Vatican City.
Quran verse 7:133, says the following about God’s plagues upon the people of Egypt during the time of Moses: “Then We afflicted them with a great flood and locusts, and the lice, and the frogs, and the blood. All these were distinct signs and yet they remained haughty. They were a wicked people.”
What are your thoughts on the plague?
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