Portions of the western U.S., including North Central Oregon, are in the middle of a infestation of Mormon Crickets. Oregon Department of Agriculture entomologist Paul Blom said the katydids are natural to the western environment.
“But it’s characterized by these periodic eruptions, where they come out in large numbers. Once they archives very large numbers they will usually band up and start marching across the country, and in the process of doing that, they consume a lot of vegetation.”
Blom told the Washington Ag Network estimates put the area of influence for Mormon Cricket right now in North Central Oregon perhaps as large as 20,000 acres. While the flightless Mormon Cricket poses no direct physical threat to humans, a swarm as the potential of making travel dangerous.
“They are a fairly large bodied thing, and when they are banding and crossing roads they will get killed in large numbers, and they have a cannibalistic habit, where they like to feed on one and other once they are dead and you keep killing more of them and roads can become so slick that cars can slide off.”
Blom noted since Mormon Crickets are not invasive, there are no plans to eradicate the insect. However, the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service offers up treatment options which does include insecticide applications.
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