USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Monday that it will provide eight states with an additional $2.8 million for suppressing high grasshopper and Mormon cricket populations.

A warm, dry spring caused grasshopper and Mormon cricket populations in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming to rise above normal population levels. According to a release, APHIS originally allocated about $2.6 million for suppression treatments, but released additional funding due to requests from landowners and federal and state land managers.

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“APHIS anticipates treating approximately 750,000 acres in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming to suppress populations and protect rangeland resources,” the release stated. “In total, these treatments will protect more than 1.5 million acres.”

Grasshoppers and Mormon crickets are natural parts of the ecosystem of the western U.S., but according to APHIS, above-average populations can lead to “serious economic losses to rangeland forage.” The insects consume stems and leaves, damaging the growth and seed production of plants. They can do significant damage to rangeland forage and destroy cultivated crops like alfalfa, wheat, barley and corn.

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