Monday, April 12, 2010


In 1923, a Montana newspaper reported: "The grasshoppers looked like a cloud, it was 300 miles long, 100 miles wide, a half-mile high."

Here's what it looked like to people in South Africa a few summers ago.

Grasshoppers, an infestation, is predicted for Wyoming.

(I've seen it in the movies (and "Fear Factor," a TV show that put contestants into tanks filled with vermin. I couldn't watch it -- it was too upsetting).

Hit them, bat them, swat them, cover yourself any way you can -- no matter what you do -- it's horrifying -- they're are an inch to 3 inches long.

Infestation means 15 or more grasshoppers per square yard. Last summer 2.9 million acres were invested. Experts are predicting the worst outbreak in 30 years -- at least 48 million acres will get it, and grasshoppers migrate -- they can fly 60 miles per day.

Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Idaho are facing infestation this summer.

The creatures blanket highways, eat clothes off clotheslines, devour every scrap of vegetation -- grass, weeds, bushes, crops -- corn, alfalfa, soybeans, sugar beets, flowers, leaves, everything -- if they skip the stems, they come back and eat them.

People will use the pansecticide Dimilin 2L -- it has a low toxicity level for mammals, reptiles and birds, and little effect on bees. Even with state subsidies, it'll cost the landowner $1.65 per acre plus horrendous costs to clean up, re-plant, re-stock and rebuild.

What can farmers, and ranchers do? Pray for well-timed cool and wet weather to stifle the young grasshoppers when they hatch around May and June.

What a year we've had -- record-breaking snows, winds, and rain -- floods in places where there were never floods before, and devastating earthquakes..

I can't help thinking about global warming, and bible tales, plagues in Egypt, other awful plagues -- and wonder why we're being punished?

Like the plague of noise -- a car -- powerful amplifiers, bass reflexive speakers blasting music you hear before you see it with its windows open -- the driver, the passengers bobbing rhythmically as sounds they love are killing your ears, killing any affection you have for your fellow mankind.

Like man-made plagues -- plastic baby bottles, bottled water, plastic utensils, containers, bubble-protected products, Styrofoam, diapers, plastic bags -- piling higher and higher in bins, dumps, landfills -- poisoning land and air and us and our kids with deadly BPH (Bisphenol A).

Oh my ... I can't help feeling that the grasshoppers are Mother Nature warning us, telling us -- "Your plagues are worse than mine -- one plague begets another -- your plagues and mine go hand in hand."

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