Numerous references to grasshoppers and locusts in the Bible show what an impact these insects had in the hot, dry lands of the ancient world. Some of these references are literal (Ex. 10:4-19) while others are symbolic (Num. 13:33).
The terms grasshopper and locust are often used interchangeably. A locust is one kind of grasshopper. Another term used rarely for these insects is katydid (Lev. 11:22), (NIV). It has a brown-colored body two to three inches long. Airborne, with two sets of wings, the locust was dreaded because of its destructive power as a foliage-eating insect in the ancient world.
The eighth plague that God sent upon the Egyptians was an invasion of locusts. Millions of these insects may be included in one of these swarms, which usually occur in the spring. Locusts in such numbers speedily eat every plant in sight, totally destroying the crops. A locust plague is practically unstoppable. Water does not work; for when enough locusts drown, the survivors use their bodies as a bridge. They have also been known to smother fires that had been set to destroy them. Even modern farmers wrestle with this problem, often resorting to poisoning the adults and harrowing fields in the fall to destroy the eggs before they can hatch in the spring.
(Chapter 9 of the Book of Revelation) presents a nightmarish prospect: locusts with special powers will be unleashed upon mankind for five months.
Locusts do not always appear in swarms. Hot weather normally brings a few solitary grasshoppers and locusts to the Holy Land. But scientists have learned that under certain conditions of climate and food scarcity, chemical changes take place in the female locust. These cause more eggs to hatch, sending millions of locusts into the air at the same time in search of food.
Many people, including the Jews, eat locusts (Lev. 11:22). These insects may be boiled, fried, or dried. Locusts were part of the wilderness diet of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:4).