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    "Sludge" from Mormon cricket invasion causes multiple crashes in Nevada

    By Emily Mae Czachor,


    How the cicada phenomenon is capturing our collective attention 03:25

    Mormon crickets are once again creating chaos in Nevada, where officials said they caused multiple crashes on an interstate highway over the weekend.

    The pesky creatures resemble fat grasshoppers and are known in parts of the western United States to appear, at times, in massive clusters that may completely cover the side of a building or an entire section of a road.

    Although the Nevada Department of Agriculture says Mormon cricket populations have decreased over the last few years in most places in Nevada, they've remained about as large as they've ever been in two counties, Eureka and Elko. In Eureka, there were so many Mormon crickets spread across the highway that they contributed to several accidents on Saturday.

    "ECSO, Eureka County Fire, Eureka County EMS, Carlin Fire, NSP, have had a busy morning responding to multiple crashes on the Interstate due to rain and Mormon Cricket sludge," the Eureka County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post, which urged people to drive with caution and included several images of a car and a semitruck both overturned after running off the road.

    When they're crushed, Mormon crickets leave behind a foul-smelling "sludge" that can pose serious driving hazards as they make roads "EXTREMELY slick and unpredictable for stopping distance," the sheriff's office said. Rainy weather created an even more dangerous situation.

    Mormon cricket invasions tend to happen in the spring, when eggs laid the previous summer begin to hatch, according to a factsheet posted by Nevada's agriculture department. How huge the swarm is in a given year can be hard to predict, officials have said, because it depends on a variety of environmental factors including temperatures and late-season snowfall.

    Whether they are crushed or not, large populations of Mormon crickets are a concern because they can destroy crops in addition to posing threats for drivers. In April, the state said it had submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for large-scale ground treatment in certain parts of Nevada to eliminate them.
    Mormon crickets are seen on a Nevada highway in a picture posted on social media in June 2023. Nevada Department of Transportation

    Nevada has been plagued by intermittent Mormon cricket infestations since the insects invaded 10 million acres of land across the state in 2006, CBS affiliate KLAS reported.

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