Grasshoppers' migration

Beware - the grasshoppers are coming to Fish Springs and bunches of them are already here. These young, brown little nymph grasshoppers are about 1/2-inch long and they can hop pretty darn high. When I walk across the lawn I see them jumping ahead of me and sometimes they jump up under my skirt! What's worse is that they're in my herb garden. While I was weeding there yesterday several of them hopped right over my hand. No fear at all.

Tom, our good friend down the road, said he's seen lots of them lately "just over the hill." That's on a Bureau of Land Management hill and they're hatching on the BLM land at the north end of Fish Springs. It's been seven years since Fish Springs had a plague of these chewing insects and it reminds me of the "seven year itch." Back in the summer of 1999 they were very destructive as they chewed their way through everything in their path, including the paint off of houses and all kinds of vegetation.

Netti Sewell lost all her beautiful flowers and many old lilac bushes that were completely stripped - nothing was left but the branches. Even the lawn was ruined.

She said, "It's like an invasion of foot soldiers marched across the 300-yard length of grass and cut a 5-foot swath along the whole length. In just one day, it was all dead."

'Tis the season. Just last month we were driving down Highway 50 and we came upon some big swarms of red, migrating crickets as they crossed the highway. Mormon crickets are first cousins to grasshoppers and what a mess they made on the road. I gave my 6-year-old granddaughter a penny for every grasshopper she caught for me. She loved that game, and so did our hungry chickens. Jenee finds all sorts of critters around the yard, like lady bugs, "rolly-pollies," lizards, tadpoles and now grasshoppers. I asked her why we call them grasshoppers and she said, "Silly grandma. They like to hop in our grass and that's why we call them grasshoppers."

Back in 1999 it was the starlings that turned out to be our savior. After consuming the multitudes of "hoppers," the iridescent black birds left their messy white droppings all over the place. But the residents didn't complain. We were just thankful that the noisy, hungry starlings ate up most of the grasshoppers. I guess we ought to be nice to those bold, squawking starlings, at least for a little while.

Reminder to all drivers: If you see an emergency vehicle behind you and the lights and siren are on, a Nevada Revised Statute requires that you pull off to the right of the road and stop your vehicle until the emergency vehicle has passed. Apparently some people have forgotten that law.

n Linda Monohan can be reached at 782-5802.


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