Saturday, July 27th 2019, 12:58 pm - Residents are alarmed, but the insects are harmless.
There's been more than a few 10 plagues jokes making the rounds this week, but we're not sure people in Las Vegas are too amused.
The desert city, a prime destination for thrillseekers and gamblers, has been swarmed by grasshoppers for much of this last week, as has much of the valley in which the city is located.
The flying insects have thronged the city's major landmarks along the Strip, with footage of them attracted to the bright lights of the Egyptian-themed Luxor hotel and casino surfacing last week. You can watch it below:
"When I see them, it's like being in a movie. Never seen nothing like this ever!" Lyft driver Jessica Palmore told CNN.
But the swarms aren't some kind of divine punishment, and in fact Nevada officials already know why they've arrived now, and in such numbers: A much wetter-than-average first half of the year, with 250 mm of recorded rainfall from January to June, around 100 mm more than the typical average over the same period, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"When we have a wet winter or spring, these things build up. A lot of times, when populations get too big, it triggers the insects to move to find new areas," Jeff Knight, an entomologist from the Nevada Department of Agriculture, said at a press conference called to address the invasion (as reported by KTNV).
While Knight said this year's migration was among the worst he'd seen, and acknowledged the bugs' affinity for bright lights made them a nuisance for some businesses, he stressed they were completely harmless, and expected they would move on within a fortnight.
"They don’t carry any diseases. They don’t bite. They’re not even one of the species that we consider a problem," Knight said.