âNo one has really determined this, to our knowledge,â Castrovillo said.
Swarms appear to occur at any given location in cycles of five to 10 years, Knight said. Some expected the cold, snowy conditions in southwestern Idaho last winter to prevent the explosive growth of Mormon cricket. A heavy snow load in the mountains means many creeks normally run dry, Marschman said, but the water does not serve as a breeding ground for crickets. The eggs are laid in the ground.
âI’m really excited,â Knight said. “I thought, great, no more crickets and grasshoppers.”
But the snow could have helped isolate the cricket eggs, he said.
Wet conditions in winter and spring fueled the growth of vegetation, providing crickets with abundant food.
âWe can’t say, ‘Oh, really wet winter, a lot of crickets – but that’s part of it,’â Castrovillo said. “Humidity and heat will increase these cycles in the insect world.”
So far this year, the USDA has treated approximately 500 acres of BLM land with carbaryl bait. Knight did not have a tally of how much bait the state provided to farmers, but he expects them to donate more than last year, when they distributed 89,000 pounds to 138 landowners.
Unfortunately for most farmers, crop insurance doesn’t cover the ravages of crickets, and there’s little they can do afterwards.