What are Mormon crickets? Nevada is currently experiencing an unprecedented phenomenon as millions of flightless insects known as Mormon crickets. They have swarmed the state, alarming residents and covering roads and buildings. This invasion has brought up fear and nightmares among the locals.
Videos shared on social media and by local news outlets depict the gravity of the situation, with six Nevada counties being disgusted by these relentless insects. The Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital had to employ brooms and leaf blowers to clear a path for patients, as reported by KSL. Moreover, the roads have become dangerous due to the large numbers of crickets getting crushed.
Contrary to their name, these insects are not crickets but rather large shield-backed katydids like grasshoppers. They are flightless and rely on walking or hopping as their mode of movement.
Mormon crickets lay eggs in the summer, which remain dormant during winter and hatch in spring. However, an unusually rainy winter caused a delay in hatching this year. As a result, a great number of insects are now on the move across Nevada. These population might persist for several years, naturally regulated through other insects.
The Battle Against Mormon Crickets: A Historical and Ongoing Struggle
For over a century, Mormon crickets have posed a significant challenge to farmers in the American West. They earned their name from the devastation they caused to the fields of Mormon settlers in Utah during the mid-19th century. Crops such as corn, oats, wheat, rye, and barley have suffered substantial losses due to these insects.
Efforts to combat Mormon cricket infestations have been ongoing since the 1930s. The US Department of Agriculture assists the states in their control. Western states like Montana, Utah, and Idaho have allocated significant funds to suppress these pests. Even in 2021, efforts continue, as seen in Oregon’s allocation of $5 million to develop control programs.
While Nevada deals with the invasion, measures taken to mitigate their impact have become necessary. Also the protection of farmers is of utmost importance at the moment. Scientists and agro-experts strive to find effective strategies to manage these populations. Despite the fear and chaos caused by the invasion, Nevadans can find solace in the ongoing battle. Efforts are underway to restore normalcy and overcome the plague of Mormon crickets.