Mormon crickets are not a pest that most of us in the U.S. think about, but it is one that causes problems for agriculture in the western mountain states, specifically Utah, on a regular basis.
From reports, it appears that wide-spread aerial insecticide spraying doesn’t result in many protests from environmental activists because the insect can turn vegetative ground barren in minutes when waves of the Mormon crickets attack.
As the Salt Lake City area Deseret News reported, the insect can show up by the billions and eat anything. “Grass, crops, sagebrush—even laundry on the clothesline—are all fodder for their enormous appetites.”
An attack by the billions was gaining speed to devour thousands of acres about a month ago, but state and federal officials jumped into action to apply insecticide aerially on 56,000 acres, and for the time being, the onslaught has been stopped, according to the Deseret News.
The online newspaper noted, “Many Utahns can remember previous cricket invasions so dense they made the ground appear to crawl. And that’s what portions of central Utah were facing a few weeks ago.” It was the start of what was appearing to become the worst infestation of the crickets since 2004.
Aerial spraying seems to have killed females before they laid eggs; therefore, aerial spraying has stopped, but another control measure for minimal infestations continues. The use of poison bait set out in the rangeland or distant edge of crops such as alfalfa fields continues.