INVASION OF THE GRASSHOPPERS: Wet conditions cause Pallid-winged grasshoppers to migrate north

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s monsoon season, but instead of the rain and flooding causing trouble by taking over the Las Vegas valley, it’s grasshoppers!

“They’re very — they’re; I don’t like them,” Kay, a woman freaked out by the swarm of grasshoppers said. “The least amount I can see, the better.”

Some are calling it the “Great Grasshopper Invasion of 2019.” So why have the critters set up roots in the valley’s desert?

“This is a big year,” said Jeff Knight, state entomologist, Nevada Dept. of Agriculture. “When we have a wet winter or spring, these things build up often below Laughlin and even into Arizona, and then we’ll have flights about this time of the year; migrations, and they’ll move northward.”

According to Knight, the kind of grasshopper migrating to town is known as Pallid-winged grasshoppers, which is a common desert species. He’s only seen large populations like this a handful of times in his 40-year career. Knight says they’ll move as far north as central Nevada.

But sorry, valley residents: It looks like the jumping critters will be sticking around here for at least two more weeks. And where the grasshoppers go, so will the birds — their natural predators. Knight said valley residents can expect to see more of them flying around as well.

For people who are afraid of grasshoppers, Knight said, the small insects are nothing to fear.

“They’re not going to bite you; they’re not going to sting you,” Knight proclaimed.

Knight says the most damage the grasshoppers could do is eat some vegetation. A tip to keep them away from your house is to buy dimmer lights.

“If you go to a low UV light or an amber light, you won’t have grasshoppers,” Knight said.

Exterminators say they’ve been getting more calls lately.

“They’re going to look for shade,” according to Grady Jones
exterminator. “Of course everything in Vegas, including us, is looking for shade, so that’s why you’ll see them in areas like this. I’ve got one flying right into me as we’re talking.”

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