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Learn more about the GLI https://locust.asu.edu

Who currently manages HopperWiki?

Rick Overson (roverso@asu.edu) and Mira Ries (miraries@asu.edu) are the creators and currently the administrators and moderators of HopperWiki. If you have any questions about how to contribute to the project please reach out at any time.

Current challenges in locust and grasshopper management and how HopperWiki can help

Locusts are a special type of grasshopper that have strikingly different phenotypic forms or “phases”, depending on their environment. At low population densities, locusts remain in the solitarious phase, well camouflaged and behaving like a typical grasshopper. The gregarious phase emerges under crowded conditions and is characterized by color changes, aggregation, and swarming. Scientists call this ability of locusts to respond to their environment “phase polyphenism”.[1][2] Of the two forms, only the gregarious poses a serious threat to global food security.

Locust outbreaks are an inherently transdisciplinary challenge that demands coordination across socioeconomic, cultural, political, and ecological landscapes. Because of this, these insects are at the center of a complex social-ecological-technological system (SETS).[3] [4] Their swarms connect stakeholders across large geographical areas, and over extended and variable time periods. In certain countries, managing locusts and grasshoppers is an annual task. While species like the desert locust, migratory locust, and South American locust experience extended recession periods lasting years or even decades, followed by sudden population surges that lead to swarms, migration, and significant crop losses.[5]

Locust outbreaks are extreme, occur sporadically, are difficult to predict and track, and extend across many ecological and cultural contexts.[6] Many of these outbreaks disproportionately affect some of the poorest areas in the world where subsistence farmers are have to respond to many other emerging climate-change threats. Wherever they land, swarms cause 80–100% crop losses. The last major locust plague (2019–2021) cost almost $250 M USD to control. [7] Over two million ha were treated with pesticides across East Africa and Southwest Asia, suppressing the swarms but bringing other costs to human and environmental health.

During an outbreak, there is an outpouring of resources and motivation directed toward emergency campaigns that protect crops and grazing lands. However, once pest populations are reduced, the problem is quickly forgotten. Over time, resources are redirected toward other issues, local expertise and knowledge erode, and organizational capacity breaks down. Eventually, environmental conditions that are favorable to locusts return and another outbreak occurs, often catching stakeholders by surprise who are once again left scrambling to mount an emergency management campaign. This vicious cycle of locust/grasshopper management has been repeated throughout history [8] [6] and is one of the core challenges HopperWiki has set out to address.

HopperWiki sets out to remedy this situation by making the myriad stakeholders, organizations, and the continuing resources developed by them, more visible and accessible globally, while circumventing language and pay-wall barriers that often limit their efficacy in sustainable management.[9] HopperWiki aims to be a co-created global repository for orthopteran insects (e.g. locusts, grasshoppers) with a particular focus on the complex themes surrounding the sustainable management of those species which impact human livelihoods. It is currently hosted by the Global Locust Initiative at Arizona State University.

By creating a repository of information, both biological and administrative–detailing the organizations involved, their management strategies, and history. HopperWiki helps to retain institutional knowledge, increase transparency, and provide substrate for decision-making tools, which may contribute to more efficient and prepared responses in the future. Additionally, while there are thousands of academic papers published on pest Orthoptera species, most of them remain behind paywalls making them inaccessible to many people in locust affected countries.[9] Not only is information often inaccessible it is often written in confusing jargon, buried in out of date websites, and/or scattered across sources making it difficult to find specific information like identification guides, control manuals, and reports.

Pest management is part of a complex ecological system and wikis specialize in linking many topics in an intuitive method. For this reason, we see HopperWiki as a key resource to get needed information out from behind paywalls and serve as an archive of information written by diverse voices in an accessible style and in various languages. It provides a directory of organizations for those seeking collaboration, expert advice, or references to past management strategies.

Interested in becoming more involved?
Join the Global Locust Initiative Network

How do I contribute to HopperWiki?

Anyone who can vouch for any area of expertise in the broad themes surrounding locust and grasshopper biology and management—or just demonstrates enthusiasm to begin learning—is more than welcome to reach out and receive an editing account—we'd love to have you!

  1. Make a HopperWiki editing account: Click on the "Request account" link in the top right corner of the screen and/or reach out to us if you have any questions or problems.
  2. Follow the step to create your log in and password
  3. Familiarize yourself with the existing HopperWiki resources and format basics of Wiki format and coding (resources below)
  4. Jump in!

HopperWiki editing guidelines

HopperWiki governance

Who are the intended users of HopperWiki?

  • Non-profits
  • Researchers
  • Journalists
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Students
  • Farmers/Producers
  • Extension Agents
  • Policy makers
  • Government agencies
  • Intergovernmental Organizations
  • General public

Why do we need HopperWiki when there's already Wikipedia?

Wikipedia's crowd-sourced efforts fueled by the tireless work of myriad volunteers have been massively successful at providing an almost unthinkable scope of encyclopedic knowledge to the world. However, much of the information that is critically needed to coordinate more sustainable locust and pest grasshopper management globally among stakeholders would be much too nuanced and extensive for Wikipedia and would be in constant danger of removal by the Wikipedia editorial community due to the broader target audience and of Wikipedia. Additionally, Wikipedia generally frowns on biographies of persons who are still living, which doesn't allow for mapping the critical human/social aspects of locust management (a main goal of HopperWiki). That being said, HopperWiki seeks to act as "connective tissue" by interlinking content across Wikipedia and other online information repositories in meaningful ways.

HopperWiki guidelines on generative AI (ChatGPT)

Generative AI like Chat GPT is a powerful tool that can translate languages, generate content, code, and edit prose. We support using AI in this context but expect that an expert should always vouch for the content created or edited with generative AI.

Acknowledging HopperWiki

To help track HopperWiki’s impact, if you use materials found on this site for a research or technical publication, please include HopperWiki in your acknowledgments. Even better, submit this form and tell us what you think.


  1. Uvarov BP (1966) Grasshoppers and Locusts, Vol. 1. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Pener MP (1983) Endocrine aspects of phase polymorphism in locusts. In Invertebrate Endocrinology, edited by Downer RGH and Laufer H (Eds.), 1: Endocrinology of Insects. Alan R. Liss New York 379–394 pp.
  3. Ostrom E (2007) A diagnostic approach for going beyond panaceas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. U.S.A. 104: 15 181–187. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0702288104
  4. McPhearson T, Cook EM, Berbés-Blázquez M, Cheng C, Grimm NB, Andersson E, Barbosa O, Chandler DG, Chang H, Chester MV, Childers DL, Elser SR, Frantzeskaki N, Grabowski Z, Groffman P, Hale RL, Iwaniec DM, Kabisch N, Kennedy C, Markolf SA, Matsler AM, McPhillips LE, Miller TR, Muñoz-Erickson TA, Rosi E, Troxler TG (2022) A social-ecological-technological systems framework for urban ecosystem services. One Earth 5: 505–518. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2022.04.007
  5. (Word et al 2024) Global perspectives and transdisciplinary opportunities for locust and grasshopper pest management and research
  6. 6.0 6.1 Therville C, Anderies JM, Lecoq M, Cease A (2021) Locusts and People: Integrating the Social Sciences in Sustainable Locust Management. Agronomy 11: 951. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050951
  7. FAO (2022) Desert locust upsurge – Progress report on the response in the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen, September–December 2021. Rome.
  8. Gay P, Lecoq M, Piou C (2019) The limitations of locust preventive management faced with spatial uncertainty: exploration with a multi-agent model. Pest Management Science 76: 1094–1002. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.5621
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mekonnen A, Downs C, Effiom EO, Razafindratsima O, Stenseth NC, Chapman CA (2021) What costs half a year’s pay for African scholars? Open access. Nature 596: 189–189. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-02173-7