Invasion of Mormon Crickets comes early
Mormon crickets are grasshopper-like insects, and they pose serious threat to farmers crops, and they are hatching early this year.
Farmers in the high desert know all about these critters, as an outbreak of Mormon crickets can absolutely devastate a farmers’ crops.
Dr. Paul Castrovillo is an Entomologist with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture and explains.
The Mormon cricket is a large insect that can grow to almost (3 inches) in length. It lives throughout western North America in rangelands dominated by sagebrush and forbs. Despite its name, the Mormon cricket is actually a shieldbacked katydid, not a cricket. It takes its name from Mormon settlers in Utah, who encountered them while pushing westward.
Although flightless, the Mormon cricket is capable of traveling up to two kilometers a day in its swarming phase, during which it is a serious agricultural pest and traffic hazard.
Mormon cricket eggs hatch mostly in the spring after they are laid, although in some areas eggs may take as many as five years to hatch.
Department of Agriculture has confirmed this is some of the earliest hatchings of Mormon crickets in years, with the first reported Feb. 22 in Winnemucca, which is 148 miles northeast of Reno.