This Is No Sci-Fi Movie: Swarms Of Grasshoppers Invade Las Vegas

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Las Vegas Grasshoppers
The New York Times

This is no science-fiction film; it’s real! Massive swarms of grasshoppers descended on the city of Las Vegas recently, wreaking havoc. Soon, photos and videos of the gigantic swarm went viral. Here’s the fascinating and hilarious phenomenon that brought the Las Vegas strip to a standstill…

Grasshoppers Invade Las Vegas

Las Vegas Grasshoppers
NWS Las Vegas

If you haven’t kept up with the news recently, you might not know: swarms of grasshoppers have invaded Las Vegas over the past few weeks.

Starting at the end of July, Las Vegas locals awoke to one of the strangest things they’ve ever experienced. Swarms of bugs – grasshoppers – seem to have arrived in the city overnight. So many invaded that it nearly brought Las Vegas to a standstill. It’s important to note grasshoppers are fascinating creatures but pose no threat to humans or other animals. Unlike locusts, which chew through everything in their way, grasshoppers do not bite, carry diseases, or even make much noise. However, the massive swarms made it hard to see, walk, drive, even lead a normal life!

The swarm is so large that they even appeared on radar (the yellow bit in the map pictures above)! Things got so dire that the local arm of the National Weather Service tweeted a warning, “Radar analysis suggests most of these echoes are biological targets. This typically includes birds, bars, and bugs, and most likely in our case … grasshoppers.”

Why Is This Happening?

So why did the grasshoppers descend on Las Vegas? Well, experts believe that swarm must have taken a liking to the bright lights of Vegas’ main drag, the Strip. There, with bright lights every three feet, the pests have blocked sidewalks and entrances to buildings, and even disturbed traffic. There are so many that locals and visitors had difficulty seeing even five feet in front of them!

But why now, if this isn’t a yearly occurrence? Scientists think this could be due to the massive amounts of rainfall in the area over the past year. Last year, Las Vegas Valley received 4.63 inches of rain, highly unusual for the region. The insects tend to migrate after heavy rainfall. The migration might be sudden, earlier or later – but it’s not unexplainable.

Past Grasshoppers Invasions

Grasshoppers The Strip
The Daily Hive

Many locals and tourists went online to describe the massive swarm of grasshoppers. One common analogy that came up, again and again, was the fourth plague God brought upon Pharaoh. Locals also described the sight as bizarre, as they had never experienced anything like it. However, experts said this had happened before in Las Vegas. Furthermore, as hideous as it sounds, previously the grasshoppers were even bigger! Other media outlets brought up similar incidents in Arizona in both 1980 and 1998. In the latter, “crushed by traffic on streets and highways, the grasshoppers caused cars and trucks to skid and slide.”

Entomologists, the name for insect experts, say he sudden grasshopper invasion could last a few weeks. Soon, however, the bugs will continue their migration journey. For now, there isn’t much to do aside from uploading those hilarious videos and not harming the creatures!