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'Mormon crickets' reported early this year, posing threat

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Mormon crickets, the grasshopper-like insects that pose threats to crops and drivers, are hatching early this year in northern Nevada.

KRVN-TV reports that the Nevada Department of Agriculture has confirmed some of the earliest hatchings of Mormon crickets in years.

The department reports the first occurred Feb. 22 in Winnemucca.

Mormon crickets pose a safety threat to drivers because they get squished and make roads slick.

Off the roads, outbreak levels of Mormon crickets can devastate farmers' crops.

The crickets are named after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint pioneers whose forage and grain fields were devoured by the insects.

The crickets turn up in numerous states across the West, including Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Oregon.