The Great Grasshopper Invasion of 2019

Las Vegas is one of the brightest cities in the U.S., attracting people from around the world. Its abundance of artificial lighting also attracted 46 million grasshoppers one night in 2019. A new study analyzed the invasion using radar data and found that artificial light awakened rather than idled insects and did so in masses — one that weighed 30 tons. At the peak of the outbreak on July 27, 2019, over 45 million grasshoppers took flight across the region, concentrating over the highest-intensity city lighting. NOAA picked up the scene that looked like a cloud resembling that of an intense thunderstorm. It is still not clear why the grasshoppers amassed into such numbers on that fateful night, but local weather reporters noted that the prior winter had been unusually wet.