Photo c/o FAO.

Libya is maybe not in the most stable political situation right now. And don’t tell Ron Paul, but when the central government is out for the count, maintenance services tend to break down. One of the things that’s fallen by the wayside in this time of political turmoil? Pest control. Which means parts of Libya are currently looking like an Old Testament hellscape of locust swarms. Say what you will about Gadhafi, but he did reliably spray for bugs.

The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization says that the desert locusts are poised to utterly destroy crops in Libya and neighboring countries like Niger and Mali. Each locust can eat its own weight every day — which may not sound like much, because they’re not that big, but that means that half a million two-gram locusts can eat as much as 2,500 people. And there are billions of them in a swarm.

So, yeah, there’s a reason they call it a PLAGUE of locusts. And a plague is what Libya’s in for (though probably not as bad of a plague as the last one, in 2003 to 2005). So apocalypse scorekeepers, take note. Up next is probably the rivers of blood.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.