Cypriots suffer pink invasion

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Millions of marauding locusts made a rare show in Cyprus yesterday, alarming farmers and prompting a pesticide blitz. Authorities described the locusts as large and pink. They were first detected on the western shores of the island on Sunday and spread inland yesterday. «There are thousands of them. I’ve only ever seen such scenes on the television,» said Andreas Kazantzis, a senior officer of the Agriculture Ministry in the western region of Paphos. The locust swarm, a freak of nature to be found in Cyprus, was thought to have spread on winds from North Africa, attracted by unseasonably hot weather and heavy rain. Potato crops were reportedly damaged in the Paphos region as were open fields in the Limassol district. Authorities were out in force spraying open areas with pesticide and were offering farmers free pesticides to do the same. Cyprus’s more fertile plains in the central and eastern areas appeared unaffected. The worst desert infestation of locusts in more than a decade struck west and central Africa this year.