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Posted 27 May 2001   For week ended May 25, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 24May01

By Rosemary Pollock

Infested Again, Maybe Reno Should Pray for Seagulls

RENO, NEVADA -- For the third year in a row, crop and flower eating Mormon crickets have homeowners in the Red Rock area north of Reno, along with agricultural officials, concerned about the economic damage to Nevada's rural economy. "It's the worst infestation by the little buggers since the early 1970's," said Jeff Knight, an entomologist for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

The recent invasion of the Mormon cricket, so named due to its relation to the long-horned grasshoppers, isn't technically a cricket. The destruction it is causing is similar to that which nearly destroyed the crops of Utah's Mormon settlers in 1848. Accounts from the Mormon pioneers say that in response to prayer, Seagulls came and devoured the bugs, saving the crops.

"We had them last year, and they were huge, " said Lorena Clark, who works for Red Rock Estates. "This year, they're having their babies. You can't kill them. They're hard little suckers, and they're ugly."

The adult life span is only about 20 days, but in that time, it can eat four times its weight in vegetation every single day. With a density of one per square yard, the cricket consumes an amount of range land forage equal to about 38 pounds per acre. "When they're banding up and moving around, they get huge numbers," said Robert Gronowski, Agricultural Administrator.

"It would really be a disaster if they built up into big numbers and attacked alfalfa, which is our biggest crop," Gronowski said. "If we lose one of a season's three cuttings, farmers lose a third of their income, and that's a major blow to the rural economy."

"They can grow to seven inches and get pretty fat, and they put out an odor, a funny musty smell. That's one of the problems with them, they do stink," Gronowski said. "We spent $300,000 to keep them from causing more problems than they did, but they still ate a lot of trees, shrubbery, everything."

The Department of Agriculture is providing some residents with insecticide bait, but Knight said such a step is only effective in helping to protect small areas such as individual gardens.


Big, ugly, stinky bugs taking over Nevada Mormon crickets threaten crops near Reno
San Francisco Chronicle 19May01 D6
By Larry D. Hatfield: Chronicle Staff Writer

Mormon crickets invade northern Nevada neighborhood
Las Vegas NV Sun (AP) 17May01 D6

Mormon Crickets Reinvade Reno; Swarm Most Notable in 2 Decades
Salt Lake Tribune (AP) 18May01 D6
Associated Press

See also:

Mormon Cricket Invasion This Year Will be Worse Than Ever

Tooele Still Trying to Get Rid of Mormon Crickets


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