As cool as it’d be to report that a swarm of locusts has descended upon Sin City like some kind of biblical retribution straight out of Exodus, that simply isn’t true. Technically, they’re pallid-winged grasshoppers.
At least that’s what a Nevada state entomologist called them Thursday as he explained why hordes and hordes of the things began overrunning the Las Vegas strip this week, CNN reported. Videos of the invasion circulating on social media are downright terrifying. And make me itchy for some reason.
— 365 in Vegas (@365inVegas) July 26, 2019
Since grasshoppers, like most insects, flock to bright lights, the Luxor Hotel and Casino’s iconic beacon has found new life as the strip’s resident bug tornado.
Apparently, Las Vegas has the weather to thank for this apocalypse horror come to life.
“It appears through history that when we have a wet winter or spring, these things build up often down below Laughlin and even into Arizona. We’ll have flights about this time of year, migrations, and they’ll move northward,” said Jeff Knight, an entomologist with the state’s Department of Agriculture, according to CNN.
The state averaged nearly double its usual rainfall between January and June according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tapping out just shy of 25cm. That makes this year Nevada’s third-wettest on record for that time period.
And this isn’t the first time a flock’s taken a stroll through the strip. The pallid-winged grasshopper is a common species in Nevada’s deserts, and occasionally when their numbers get too big they migrate en masse to find a new home, Knight told CNN. He said he’s seen it at least four to five times in his 30-year career.
Thankfully, the little buggers only look terrifying. Unlike the locusts they’re related to, these grasshoppers aren’t the kind of harbingers of famine and starvation the Bible describes.
“They don’t carry any diseases. They don’t bite,” Knight said, according to the Las Vegas Sun. “They’re not even one of the species that we consider a problem. They probably won’t cause much damage in the yard.”
And they’re only expected to be around another week or so before they continue their migration, he added. Their little baby grasshoppers wouldn’t survive in the region, so they’ll be on their way to lay their eggs somewhere else soon, he said.
I hope they at least get a chance to catch a show while they’re in town.