During Biblical times and throughout history, people learned stories about the “eighth plague of locust" that took place in preparation for the Exodus—a departure of the promised people (Hebrews or Israelites) from Egypt. The Pharaoh refused to liberate the children of Israel and agents of God, Moses and Aaron both, warned him that God would punish him and his people as a consequence. As soon as Moses left the palace, he raised his arms toward heaven and by morning, riding in on an east wind, hordes of locusts swept into Egypt. They covered the sun and devoured everything green that had escaped the hail and previous plagues.
Extremely frightening, these infestations created human famine and starvation. Even today, the most destructive phases of locust take place among sustenance farmers in Africa, where the “desert locust" is notorious. They can be found in other parts of the world including the Middle East, Asia and in up to sixty other countries.
Locusts are related to grasshoppers and look quite alike. During certain times of the year, they fall into a “gregarious phase," navigating together in huge swarms –sometimes 460 square miles (1,200 square kilometers) in size— eating eat plants and crops in a ravenous manner, earning them the apt name, “a natural disaster." Each individual locust can eat its weight in plants each day. They can take lengthy treks across countries spreading their destruction.
However, Cicadas are not locusts.