Insect Armies Made Night of Day


| May/June 1975



Clearing grasshoppers from a field

Clearing grasshoppers from a field Courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society

Kansas State Historical Society

This article is reprinted from the Kansas City [Mo.] Star with permission of the Star and the author. Frances S. Bush is a free-lance writer whose articles appear frequently in the Kansas City Star and Times. Pictures from archives of Kansas State Historical Society.

Pioneer farmers who settled the West were victims of nature's violence in many forms heat, cold, drought, flood, blizzards, tornadoes but the disaster that descended upon them, literally, in the middle '70s of the last century was different from any they had known.

Grasshoppers, by the millions.

There was the natural revulsion of human beings from contact with insects, and then there was the eerie feeling that what began to happen to them in 1873 and grew into total ruin in 1874 and 1875 had actually been described with complete accuracy some 4,000 years earlier.

It was in the Old Testament, Exodus 10: 'And the locusts went up all over the land of Egypt . . . very grievous they were; before them there was no such locusts, as they, neither after them shall there be.

'For they covered the face of the whole earth so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land and all the fruits of the trees . .. and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field ...'