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2 years ago, Las Vegas was infested by grasshoppers

It was two years ago that Las Vegas was infiltrated by tourists of a different kind.

During the summer of 2019, more than 45 million pallid-winged grasshoppers flew, crawled and hopped into the Las Vegas Valley.

The infestation drew national attention as the insects clung to each of Las Vegas’ bright, shiny and neon surfaces.

After an unseasonably wet winter and spring, the grasshoppers made a prolonged detour in the valley as they migrated as far north as central Nevada from Laughlin and northern Arizona, the Nevada Department of Agriculture explained.

The grasshoppers carried no diseases. They didn’t bite. And reportedly, they did not cause too much damage to yards.

But Las Vegans captured plenty of footage of the insects swarming gas station light bulbs, creeping inside the lettering of neon marquees and blanketing downtown’s sidewalks.

In March, a new study examined how the city’s bright lights attracted the grasshoppers.

Elske Tielens, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oklahoma and lead author of the research published in the Biology Letters journal, a primarily online peer-reviewed publication, said her team found that during the day, the grasshoppers would stay in vegetated habitats on the outskirts of the Las Vegas Valley and then descend on the city when the lights came on at dusk.

For those who may miss the company of grasshoppers, Jeff Knight, the state entomologist for the Agriculture Department says that people interested in seeing more of them “can always go out in the desert. It’s a common desert species.”

Contact Janna Karel at jkarel@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

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