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Mormon Crickets swarm parts of Natrona and Converse counties

Mormon crickets completely cover the base of a tree.
Katie Madonia
Mormon crickets in Nevada

Mormon cricket season has arrived, but at a much higher density than in previous years. Over the past two months, the insects have converged on parts of Natrona and Converse counties, including the town of Edgerton.

The insect resembles a reddish-brown cricket, despite being a completely different species, and they measure 1.5-2 inches in length.

Matt Jolivet, the interim supervisor of the Natrona County Weed and Pest Board, said initial reports of Mormon crickets arrived in late May and early June. Their appearance this time of year is common, but what is uncommon are the amounts in which they’re hatching.

“We always have some Mormon crickets there for a presence of some kind, but not to this amount,” he said. “It happens to coincide with a year where we have very high production and a lot of rain. And so the land can support a higher density of Mormon crickets.”

The crickets appeared in northeastern Natron County along the I-25 corridor and around the towns of Midwest and Edgerton where they’ve appeared in previous years. However, they then appeared in the more southwestern part of the county. Jolivet said he is unsure whether those are the same group of crickets as in northeastern Natrona County, or whether a different group hatched elsewhere.

Jess Butler, the assistant supervisor of theConverse County Weed and Pest Board, says crickets appeared in rural section in Western Converse County. However, the Weed and Pest Board has since worked to exterminate the insect, which has since reduced the population to a few, isolated bands.

Jolivet said problems which could be caused by the insect are mostly plant-related.

“The problems with that species comes when they get into areas that are trees, row crops, and mostly broadleaf plants. They have a very varied diet. They're really an interesting critter when it comes to their diet.They're cannibalistic, they eat each other.”

However, despite this year’s Mormon cricket numbers, there has been minimal damage. The only exception is trees and gardens in residential zones of the cricket-affected areas. More than anything, Jolivet says, these critters just look scary.

“It's impressive when you see it…they're there one day, and three days later, you don't see them anymore.”

If the Mormon crickets are still swarming your area, Jolivet recommends buying poison bait from a local weed and pest board.

Butler also encourages people who find adult Mormon crickets to “keep an eye on where they are. And that way you can find where they are, where they're hatching in the upcoming year. So you can make a plan for it.”

Suraj Singareddy is originally from Atlanta, GA, and is a rising junior at Yale University. He's currently an English major with a minor in computer science. He also helps run the Yale Daily News' podcast department, writes for a science-fiction magazine called Cortex, and likes to do different theatre-y stuff around campus. He also loves to read comics and graphic novels in his free time, and is always looking for book recommendations!

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