The past few years have been chock full of things on roads that aren’t meant to be on roads. Tomatoes, nitric acid, sex toys — that sort of stuff. Normally, it’s the result of a truck crash or a train collision, or something of that sort. However, a small town in Nevada has reduced friction on its roadways for a rather spectacular reason: The whole area is under invasion from Mormon Crickets. Unlike their human counterparts, these insects don’t knock.
KUTV reports that the town of Elko, Nev. has been absolutely overrun with a rather large insect called the “Mormon Cricket.” The things are dawdling down roadways and climbing up walls; you aren’t safe at the grocer, you aren’t safe at the mall. These flightless katydids aren’t actually true crickets, but they are bush crickets, so that’s where they get their name. They’re also an infestation, leaving the town looking mid-apocalyptic. Just have a look:
Holy moly. Mormon Crickets aren’t like ants — you can’t fit ten thousand in a single jar of peanut butter. They take up real space, from walls to roads. Oh, and it’s on the roads where these creepy crawlies can be a real menace. Elko resident Tyeona Damon told Fox 13 News: “They’re impacting my racecar driving because it’s so slick, so to have crickets ruining it is really awkward.”
The big hazard to drivers is how the slimy insides of these bugs get splattered all over the tarmac, reducing grip on the road and making things, um, interesting. Look, I’ve never driven on a thin film of Nickelodeon slime, but I’m pretty sure that’s a rough equivalent to what a gut-coated insect cemetery of a road would be like. Oh, and it gets worse: These things are cannibals. Yep, they eat other Mormon Crickets alive or dead for sustenance, which furthers the roadway problem. After a few hundred of these things get run over on the highway like Grand Theft Auto NPCs, more Mormon Crickets come in, feast on the remains, and get run over themselves. It’s almost like a self-lubricating roadway, in a way.
What about paint issues not caused by vehicle-to-vehicle collisions? Sure, Mormon Crickets are flightless, but their entrails can still be slung up from the road, which would most certainly suck to clean from your paintwork (and if left on there a while, I bet it could cause damage due to acidity). Oh, and let’s not forget about underbody cleanliness. Imagine the smell of bug residue on a hot exhaust manifold. Mmm, delicious. Oh, and the insects reportedly defecate all over the place, so that’s nice. Imagine having to scrape bug poo off your shoes every time you went somewhere. I mean, it’s better than scraping human poo off your shoes, but still.
In addition to vehicular mayhem and general ickyness, Mormon Crickets emit a pungent aroma when squashed, can damage vegetation, and kill crops. The worst part? This nightmare won’t be over anytime soon. Mormon Crickets have a cycle of four to six years, so we could theoretically see two new presidents before Elko escapes the quagmire of squashed insects. To all the residents of Elko: Good luck. We’re pulling for you. Especially you, poor racecar driver.
(Photo credits: KUTV, Oregon Department of Agriculture)
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