By Alison Fox
July 30, 2019

In what feels like it came straight out of the movie “The Ten Commandments,” swarms of pallid-winged grasshoppers have taken over Las Vegas, bearing down on the strip as if it were the end of times.

The grasshoppers — which are not dangerous — appeared along the strip as part of their northern migration and could be there for weeks. They came from southern Nevada and possibly as far as Arizona, The New York Times Reported.

And while this swarm may feel as if it were like locusts that signal biblical implications, they’re really just harmless, if not a bit… icky.

“We can probably blame the Book of Exodus,” Jeff Lockwood, a professor of natural sciences and humanities at the University of Wyoming who has written about grasshoppers, told the Times. “I think that kind of planted a seed in Western culture and Western mindset of these outbreaks sort of being dark and dangerous.”

Grasshoppers swarm a sidewalk a few blocks off the Strip on July 26, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
| Credit: BRIDGET BENNETT/Getty Images

Jeff Knight, an entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, told reporters that a wet winter or spring may be to blame, according to USA Today.

“They’ll move northward, and they’ll often move as far north as central Nevada,” he said, adding: “They don’t carry any diseases, they don’t bite, they’re not even one of the species that we consider a problem."

The grasshoppers tend to be attracted to ultraviolet light, according to USA Today, and are often found swarming around glowing bulbs of white light.

Massive swarms of grasshoppers have descended on the Las Vegas Strip this week, startling tourists and residents as they pass through town on their northbound migration.
| Credit: BRIDGET BENNETT/Getty Images

Videos of the swarming insects, however, showed what appeared to be millions of them gathering on sidewalks and in front of hotels, even drawn to the Sky Beam, which shoots out from the top of the Luxor Resort and Casino, according to the Times.

And the swarm is so pronounced, it’s visible on weather radar, CNN reported. Even the National Weather Service weighed in, noting they’ve received many questions on radar readings over Las Vegas.

“Radar analysis suggests most of these echoes are biological targets,” the NWS said in a tweet. “This typically includes birds, bats, and bugs, and most likely in our case--> Grasshoppers.”

Luckily, there’s plenty to do in Las Vegas without going outside. So live it up with some great food, swim with sharks and drink some whiskey at a bar disguised as a barber shop. And of course, gamble a bit.