Mormon Crickets: Earmark to Some, Real Plague to Others

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2009 11:00 AM CDT
Three female Mormon crickets feed on another Mormon cricket in this file photo.   (Wikimedia)
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(Newser) – Critics, most notably John McCain, have lambasted the latest omnibus spending bill for its 8,500 earmarks; one frequently cited provision is $1 million to fight Mormon crickets in Utah. “Is that a species of cricket or a game played by the Brits?” joked McCain over Twitter. But to residents of Grouse Creek, Utah, the Mormon crickets aren’t a joke—they’re a plague, the Washington Post reports.

 “They’ll crawl right into your house, get up on your walls,” says one cattle rancher of the crop-devouring katydids. “It’s enough to drive a person totally insane.” At their 2004 height, the crickets infested 2.8 million acres, wreaking havoc on Utah’s $340 million agricultural economy. Now, thanks to the steady applications of earmarks—matched by state and local funds—that’s down to 37,500 acres.