Grasshoppers Have Invaded Las Vegas

Even grasshoppers can't resist the alluring lights of Las Vegas. Massive swarms of them have descended on the Las Vegas Strip this week, passing through town on their northbound migration. BRIDGET BENNETT/AFP/Getty Images

There must be a grasshopper convention in Las Vegas no one told us about.

Because these days, Sin City is positively hopping with pallid-winged grasshoppers.

"It's a very common desert species," Jeff Knight, state entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, explained at a press conference last week. "It appears, through history, that when you have a wet winter or spring, these things build up..."

And what does a grasshopper "build up" look like on the ground?

Well, a little like civic hysteria.

Check out some of the bug-inspired bedlam in the video below:

"When I see them, it's like being in a movie. Never seen nothing like this ever!" resident Jessica Palmore tells CNN.

Indeed, Palmore captured a scene seemingly stolen from a Hollywood blockbuster on video, with countless grasshoppers swirling over the Strip's iconic Luxor Hotel.

"Oh no ... something is not right in this world," Palmore said in the video, which has been viewed nearly 40,000 times since she posted it on Facebook Friday.

Bright lights dazzle

A view of the Las Vegas Strip at night.
The city's downtown strip is a light-lover's paradise. Kobby Dagan/

Fear not, Las Vegans. This is probably the most benign plague any city could ask for.

"They don't carry any diseases, they don't bite, they're not even one of the species that we consider a problem," Knight explained at the press conference.

But what if, heaven forbid, a couple of these hop-happy critters should find their way into your car?

"They're not gonna bite you," Knight reassures "They're not gonna sting you. Pull over, open the windows, let it out."

But at about an inch-and-a-half long — and with their namesake penchant for "hopping" — they're pinging off more than just residents.

They're also pinging weather radar systems. The horde is reportedly so vast, the National Weather Service has picked it up on it radar. The service suggests a little caution while driving, as grasshopper-nado may limit visibility.

They may have built up huge numbers thanks to a very wet spring — the state averaged nearly double its usual rainfall between January and June according NOAA — but why pick Las Vegas as their holiday destination?

Need we even ask? Bright lights, bug city.

Like most bugs — and many people — they're drawn to the bright lights, particularly ultraviolet lights. If it's all too much for Vegas residents, Knight suggests installing amber or low-UV lights, which are a lot less appealing to grasshoppers.

Or, of course, Las Vegas could just wait for the plague to pass. Knight suggests the horde will hop along in a few more weeks.

Or when until hungry birds sense an opportunity and call for a convention of their own — featuring the kind of all-you-can eat buffet only Vegas can offer.