'It Was Crazy': Swarm Drowns City in Insects

A huge grasshopper migration is freaking out Las Vegas tourists
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2019 4:30 PM CDT
Updated Jul 29, 2019 12:33 AM CDT

Been to Vegas lately? Then you know what should stay there: grasshoppers. Spawned by a soggy spring, the latest migration is so widespread that it showed up on a National Weather Service radar. "It looked as though it should be torrentially downpouring in Las Vegas," meteorologist Allison Chinchar tells CNN. Online videos show the insects swarming around well-lit tourist spots like the Luxor and causing what a local comic calls "a bit of hysteria," per the New York Times. But Jeff Knight, an entomologist at the state's agriculture department, says heavy grasshopper migrations occur there every few years when there's a wet winter or spring.

"We have outbreaks of insects periodically," he says. "I guess you'd call it an outbreak." He blames the migration on rainfall in the Las Vegas Valley, which has already topped its annual average of roughly four inches. But it can be shocking for tourists to see the pallid-winged grasshoppers buzz 10 feet overhead and travel some 30 feet away, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It was crazy," a tourist tells KLAS. "We didn't even want to walk through there. Everybody was going crazy." Still, you can't do much about it: Pesticides kill them, Knight says, but more will take their place. Flicking off outdoor ultraviolet lights would help. Otherwise, just wait a few weeks and they'll migrate north out of town. (More insects stories.)

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