Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Grasshopper wars" in Wyoming compared to Dust Bowl era infestation

Read Kirk Johnson's report, dateline Lusk, Wyoming, population 1,447, here. An excerpt folllows:
Bug wars have long punctuated life in the nation’s grassy midsection, but this year is an exclamation point. At least $25 million in hay, wheat and alfalfa alone in this corner of Wyoming is up for grabs, state officials say, to be eaten by insects, or saved. Huge areas of Montana and South Dakota are also at risk, especially from sanguinipes, the migrator, one of the most feared of 100 grasshopper species on the plains because of its startling mobility. In Wyoming alone, about 7,800 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey — is infested and scheduled for aerial treatment.
Johnson notes elsewhere that this particular inch-long grasshopper, Melanoplus sanguinipes, can fly hundreds of miles and is the same variety that devastated land during the 1930s Dust Bowl era.

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