I realize that I’m a far piece from Lusk, Wyoming.
Still, it’s unsettling to hear that Melanoplus sanguinipes, a.k.a., the same migratory grasshoppers that wreaked havoc on the land during the Dust Bowl, are back again.
These high plains drifters – they can fly hundreds of miles (which I calculate puts them about a week away from here) – are starting to chomp their way through alfalfa, hay, and wheat. Wide swaths of land in Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota are at risk of attack by these winged vegans.
Why this year?
With low farm prices last year, many ranchers decided to forgo the $1-an-acre spraying fee for prophylactic grasshopper control. And the ample spring rains this year and last fell with a timing that failed to control the egg numbers, leaving more adults to lay more eggs. (Source: NY Times.)
The result of this perfect storm: there may be 1 trillion of these little sucker gettin’ ready to pounce. (Better prophylactic than sorry, I’d say.)
What a year it’s been!
Bad enough we have to worry about underwear bombers and Times Square terrorists. North Korean madmen and Orly Taitz (who, thankfully, lost her bid for nomination for political office in California). The sad ending to various Gore marriages, and poor Sandra Bullock. Fergie pimping the royals, and the reported Bernie Madoff tough guy prison message to his victims. (F-you!)
Unemployment. Underemployment. The repossessed, the depossessed, and the endless spout of aggravating, let-the-eat-cake utterance out of the mouths of tone-deaf Wall Streeters. (Talk about F-you!)
Forget global warming and our hormoned-up, fructosed-out, addicting food supply. Those frets are so back-burnered by this point, they’re almost yesterday.
Now we have to worry about 1 trillion hell-bent on crop devastation grasshoppers revving their engines out west.
In one sense, it’s too bad, because grasshoppers – if you live in a city, anyway – have a nice, benevolent image, pretty much.
Okay, so they’re not your go-to guys – that would be the ants.
But they’re kind of fun and frolicky, no?
Out west, they’re the enemy. So we need those crop dusters to – ah, young grasshopper – get kung fu fighting.
Although I’m a city girl, I do have a tad bit of experience with insect plagues. (And I’m not even counting the cockroaches in the toaster when I was in college.)
Years ago, gypsy moths took to the skies of New England.
They nested in trees, and spread some type of netting that looked like the spun-glass angel hair my mother used to put on our Christmas trees. Having nested and infested, the gypsy moths proceeded to pretty much destroy the trees they lived in.
They also left their slick and slimy larvae under the shingles at my mother’s house.
So she enlisted some of us to scrape them out from under.
Par-tay at Ma’s this weekend, boys and girls!
Talk about never ending battle. Talk about dis-gusting.
As I stood there prying out gypsy moth larvae with a screwdriver, I would have given anything for one of those old timey, pump action sprayers full of DDT.
So I have a little up close and personal experience with what our neighbors to the west are going through.
Westward, ho, ye crop dusters! America stands behind you. Dust away!