Mormon Crickets Prompt 'State of Emergency' in Nevada

Mormon Crickets Prompt 'State of Emergency' in Nevada

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

ELKO, Nev. (AP) -- Thousands of crickets have devoured plant life and blanketed roads and buildings in a northeast Nevada county, prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency.

Elko County commissioners declared the emergency Thursday, saying the infestation was causing property damage, and that crushed cricket carcasses were making roads slick and unsafe.

"We could see them coming up the street in hordes," said Ralph McMullen of the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority. "They were against the sides of houses and on porches. There were just thousands of them."

The commissioners want state aid to help kill the crickets.

In Utah, the cricket problem looms large as spring turns to summer.

"We have our own herds here," said Larry Lewis, spokesman for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. "They are in croplands as we speak. As they grow, their appetites grow."

The infestation is particularly acute in Millard, Tooele and Juab counties. State and federal agencies are working to protect farmers by laying down oats laced with insecticide, helping stop the insects before they reach alfalfa or other fields.

Mormon crickets are known for eating about anything in their path, gobbling up sagebrush, gardens, lawns, crops and each other. They can cover up to a mile per day. In one season, a cricket can eat 38 pounds of forage.

They got their name after invading the fields of Mormon settlers in Utah in 1848.

Jeff Knight, a Nevada agriculture entomologist, said a drought has favored the cricket, but not its predators or parasites.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast