Sam Penrod ReportingOne of our Uintah Basin viewers sent us some digital photos of what looks like an infestation of grasshoppers in their yard, and so thick you can hardly see their garden hose.
As creepy and disgusting as the grasshoppers look on video, it's even worse in person. We brought back a jar of grasshoppers to show around the newsroom. These grasshoppers aren't just annoying and gross, but are causing devastating damage to crops, and it will probably only get worse.
Imagine your front door covered with grasshoppers just waiting to get in your house. It's a nightmare the Jessen family in Duchesne County is living right now.
Mac Jessen: "You sweep going into the house, you sweep going out of the house it's just something that you see in the movies."
It's the men's job to keep the grasshoppers out of the house, but it's becoming a very big mess outside.
Mac Jessen: "It's devastating, and you pile them up and they smell like a dead animal."
But on the farm is where the hoppers are very bad, 14-year old Tyson says they swarm everywhere he walks.
Tyson Christensen, Ranch Hand: “It’s like the ground’s moving and hopping.”
To give you an idea of just how bad the grasshopper problem is here, one week ago a field was full of green grass, now it's mostly grasshoppers. There are still a few green fields, but the grasshoppers are moving fast.
Local ranchers are hiring crop dusters, hoping to get the grasshoppers under control.
Mac Jessen: “Our county agent was up here and he says eight per square yard it's feasible to spray, he estimated to me we have 80 to 100 per square yard. We're way above that. I'd call it a disaster."
Right now, the grasshoppers are eating the crops meant for the cattle. And that makes the potential for serious economic damage very real in the Uintah Basin. The ranchers are hoping for some help from the state in spraying the grasshoppers. But the ranchers admit, life on the farm was already tough because of the drought, and now the grasshoppers are making the outlook even worse.