Like something biblical . . . like locusts out of Exodus 10:3–6 . . . a plague of grasshoppers swarmed Sin City [aka Las Vegas] this past July. This migration was triggered by a harsh winter, one the city hadn't seen in a long time. According to a Reuters' report, this "plague . . . sparked fear and loathing on social media."
Building on the analogy of the Old Testament, the Luxor Hotel & Casino was constructed in the shape of a pyramid. Inspired by ancient Egypt, its powerful beam of light was a beacon for airline pilots, seen by airline pilots as far away as Los Angeles. Unfortunately, that column of lights acted as a magnet for hundreds of thousands of grasshoppers.
The Twitter user @TheBrittWithAnl tweeted the following photo that captured that tower of well-lit grasshoppers, and received 164 retweets [as of this posting] . . .
This year was an unusually wet one for Las Vegas. Up to July, the gambling town had already exceeded its annual rainfall average of four inches. Unfortunately, grasshoppers are attracted to moist environments and light. Jeff Knight, an entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture noted that the insects migrated from as far as Southern Nevada and Arizona.
However, there was no evidence their exodus started in Egypt.
Didn't Pose A Threat
While they don't bite, nor sting, they were very annoying to the tourists and gamblers.
These pallid-winged grasshoppers were about an inch and a half long, with large back legs and bodies that can be gray to yellow-brown. The insects live in wide-open spaces from British Columbia, Canada, to Chiapas, Mexico, and as far east as Montana, Kansas, and eastern Texas.
Again, no evidence they came from Egypt.
Entre du Jour?
"Grasshoppers" gave the Evel Pie Pizza owners at 508 Fremont Street the idea for a new pizza ingredient. Since this news story piqued interest nationally, these chefs decided that a grasshopper topping (not the invading ones, but culinary-quality bugs from Mexico) would be of interest to their clientele. As a result, the restaurant's "grasshopper special" was a fun seller, and garnered additional national media attention for the town and its establishment.
On the other hand, grasshoppers might have been a warning to tourists, that "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." For almost two decades, those five words have served as this city's mantra of excess. Little did they know, however, that the "excess" would be hundreds of thousands of grasshoppers descending on this gambling mecca.
In the past, that creative and naughty one-liner encouraged and empowered tourists to behave in ways they would have never dared to do back home – a wink and a nod to Vegas' other name -- "Sin City."
Maybe this year, it was a plague of grasshoppers representing a warning from God, that you need to think twice before you give in to your X-rated impulses, less you want to be BUSTED! After all, there was no definitive reason why the grasshoppers mobilized in such a fashion and why they chose Vegas to swarm? Any thoughts, dear readers? Science or the hand of God?
Primary Source: Reuters