"They're Everywhere" - Megadrought Sparks Grasshopper Plague In Western US
Before we dive further into the grasshopper plague, the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows much of the western half of the U.S. is in some form of drought. Some places are more severe than others - but many of these lands produce an immense amount of farm goods.
Agriculture officials had seen this year's infestation coming after a 2020 survey found dense concentrations of adult grasshoppers across about 55,000 square miles (141 ,000 square kilometers) in the West. A 2021 grasshopper "hazard map" shows densities of at least 15 insects per square yard (meter) in large areas of Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon and portions of Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska. -A.P.
"Left unaddressed, federal officials said the agricultural damage from grasshoppers could become so severe it could drive up beef and crop prices," A.P. warned.