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RENO, Nev. (AP) -- State officials say they're encouraged by a dramatic drop in the size of Nevada's Mormon cricket infestation -- although they're reluctant to celebrate.
State entomologist Jeff Knight says the insects covered between 750,000 and 1 million acres, about 10 percent of the land infested in 2006. In 2005, the infestation covered 12 million acres.
The crickets were concentrated in Elko County, the Eureka area and a portion of Sparks.
Knight says the crickets are returning for the seventh straight year.
Mormon crickets swarm in groups by the thousands, gobbling lawns, gardens and crops. The insect was made infamous by nearly destroying the crops of Utah's Mormon settlers in 1848.
He says he hopes the drop in cricket numbers signals an end to a problem that has cost about $6 million in state and federal money to fight.
Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)