Swarms can include billions of locusts and span hundreds of square miles as the insects voraciously consume crops, imperiling food security.
Migratory locusts inhabit Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, attacking pastures and critical crops such as wheat, rice, corn, millet, barley, oats, sugarcane and sorghum.
Professor Kang said further research is needed on whether 4VA exists in other locust species such as the desert locust, called Schistocerca gregaria, that currently is ravaging parts of Africa and the Middle East.
The chemical insecticides currently used to suppress locust outbreaks raise concerns about human health and safety. The identification of 4VA could inspire new methods.