An unusual swarm of grasshoppers so thick it appeared on radar appeared in las Vegas this week, creating an out-of-place sight more suited to ancient Egypt.
Why Las Vegas?
Etymologists believe the unusually large swarms were the result of a, particularly wet winter. Nevada received nearly ten inches of rain between January and June, nearly double its annual average. This year is Nevada’s third-wettest on record for that time period and has already exceeded the average annual rainfall average by about four inches. The dry summer weather forced the swarms to move on in search of food. They seem to be attracted to the patches of green in the desert city as well as the city lights.
Some of you have been asking about the widespread radar returns the past few nights in #Vegas. Radar analysis suggests most of these echoes are biological targets. This typically includes birds, bats, and bugs, and most likely in our case–> Grasshoppers. #VegasWeather pic.twitter.com/reQX7hJR7Y
— NWS Las Vegas (@NWSVegas) July 27, 2019
Experts assured the locals that unlike locusts, grasshoppers posed no threat, would not cause undue amounts of damage, and would most probably be moving on in two or three weeks.
Swarming the Pyramid
Las Vegas is famous for gambling but one of its prominent attractions is the 30-story pyramid of the Luxor Hotel and Casino. The pyramid emits a powerful beam of light straight upwards which, ironically, attracts the grasshoppers.
So I guess grasshoppers really have taken over Las Vegas pic.twitter.com/x5n6HxWV30
— Brittani (@TheBrittWithAnI) July 26, 2019
The Biblical imagery was not lost on the media. Travis Herzog, Chief Meteorologist at ABC13, tweeted out a Biblical query: “Did anyone happen to spot Moses shouting something to Pharaoh in front of that pyramid on the Las Vegas Strip?”
Did anyone happen to spot Moses shouting something to Pharaoh in front of that pyramid on the Las Vegas Strip? I see there are millions of grasshoppers in the area… #GrasshopperInvasion #GrasshopperPlague
— Travis Herzog (@TravisABC13) July 27, 2019
Plague of Locusts Made a Comeback in the Mid-East But Not in the U.S.
The infestation is of grasshoppers which occurs in the area every few years, is markedly different than the more destructive locust. Though all locusts are grasshoppers with no taxonomic distinction made between them, not all grasshoppers are locusts. Locusts are a certain species of short-horned grasshoppers that have a swarming phase, usually in response to overcrowding.