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Mormon crickets are back in Southwest Idaho

The pesky bugs cause problems for area ranchers and farmers
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jul 03, 2024

They are creepy and crawly and quite frankly hard to look at . Mormon crickets. They've been more than just a nuisance for Southwest Idaho ranchers and farmers for years.

  • Mormon crickets are causing problems for Owyhee County ranchers.
  • Ranchers can deal with them with the help from the Idaho Department of Agriculture, but it's a bit more complicated on public lands.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

“Once you get them, you got them.” Chris Black’s family has ranched and farmed in Owyhee County for generations, and he can tell first-hand the problem he has with these pesky bugs. “ They’re a problem because they eat certain species of plants.”

Rancher Jerry Hoagland and Owyhee County Commissioner puts it this way.

“They’re an annoyance livestock don’t like them around then they get in the water taste of water they don’t like it.”

Black says you can herd crickets. “You saw how they went in herds they move away from noise, so I gave the kids bells and noise makers and we head over the hill this way and that time we had a piece of private land over the hill here.” Yes, Chris and his family actually herd the crickets, like cattle because as Chis told me that’s what they do.

Jerry Hoagland believes you don’t have to look far to see where many of the Mormon crickets are coming from. “When it gets on federal property that’s a different story.”

Hoagland is referring to public land managed by the BLM, and that’s where it gets a little complicated. The BLM told me in a lengthy statement that the BLM recognizes that these native insects are important ecologically but also understands the need to reduce impacts to agricultural and other private lands adjacent to BLM lands. There are also concerns about the Sage Grouse Habitat.

As far as the state goes Ranchers and farmers work with the Idaho Department of Agriculture. Lloyd Knight is deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and says this. “The challenge with Mormon crickets they really have a negative impact on crops they love to eat grass and crops so the impact they have on agricultural lands can be significant.”

 The Mormon crickets aren’t going anyway anytime soon. So, if have the pleasure and running across them, just make a little noise and keep going.