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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Mormon crickets have already hatched and they're moving in on west desert ranches.
The crickets about half of their three-inch adult size began to appear within the past three weeks on ranches in Nephi already. And farmers say there will be blankets of them there by later this month.
Tooele Valley's first horde has emerged on the western side of South Willow Canyon.
So far, Mormon cricket infestations have been mainly in Tooele, Juab, Millard and Beaver counties, but they are moving toward the central portion of the state.
The U-S Department of Agriculture says about two-point-eight (m) million acres were ravaged by crickets last year. And they say it won't be better this year.
Each year that the drought has continued, the infestations have become worse.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)