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Hungry grasshoppers spurred by US drought threaten rangeland

Western Drought-Voracious Grasshoppers
Posted at 7:13 PM, Jun 24, 2021

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Voracious grasshoppers emerging in huge numbers are threatening to eat their way through vast areas of western rangeland where cattle graze.

The outbreak adds to the woes of a western U.S. drought that is drying up waterways, sparking wildfires, and leaving farmers scrambling for water.

In central Montana, more than 50 miles from the nearest town, rancher Frank Wiederrick says the grasshoppers "are cleaning us out."

He fears he'll have to sell his cows as the infestation worsens.

U.S. agriculture officials are launching what could become their largest campaign since the 1980s to kill grasshoppers by spraying the range with pesticides from aircraft.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spray approximately 3,000 square miles of the pesticide diflubenzuron.

Officials told the AP that left untreated, the grasshoppers could severely wreak havoc that would see the prices of beef and crop soar.