Minnesota: Day of the Locusts

Day of the Locusts

The rich farming areas of western Minnesota, still suffering the effects of last year's drought, now have a plague to contend with: millions of crop- destroying grasshoppers are creating conditions reminiscent of the Dust Bowl 1930s.

Dry weather has prevented the germination of a fungus that kills the locusts' eggs, enabling two particularly harmful species to hatch in overwhelming numbers. Since spring the hungry hordes have infested thousands of acres in 36 counties, chewing up wheat, corn, sugar beets and soybeans. Normally, fewer than ten locusts occupy the average square yard of land; crop damage begins when the number rises to...

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