The US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a bulletin in early June warning the Mid- and Southwest States that large grasshopper outbreaks are expected this spring and summer.
"These estimates are based on the unusually high population of adult grasshoppers in these States at the end of the summer of 2009, indicating that a large number of eggs may have been laid," says APHIS in a release.
Since America's native locust, the Rocky Mountain locust, has long gone extinct, this cannot be properly called a locust infestation - thankfully avoiding the theological baggage an Old Testament-style "plague of locusts" brings with it - but the effects could be about the same:
Grasshopper eat about half their bodyweight per day, and if foliage is unavailable, the grasshoppers will eat wood and paint.
Last summer, The Wall Street Journal reports, one Wyoming rancher had everything on his 10,000 acres - including his wife's lilac bushes - devoured by a horde of the critters. Without grass, the rancher had to sell his cattle earlier and lighter, and the resulting total profit loss tallied about $30,000 (€25,182).
It is uncertain yet whether this pertains to the grasshoppers' swarming in America, but researchers at UK's University of Cambridge have discovered that when the desert locusts of Africa swarm, even though the bugs' bodies shrink somewhat, their brains grow by 30%, especially the areas for learning and information processing.
Cambridge's scientists say this happens to prevent cannibalism - their bigger brains enable the locusts to identify between friend and food during the high-density mayhem of the swarm - unlike, say, sharks during a feeding frenzy who become so crazed, they attack and eat each other.
Grasshopper swarms like the current one APHIS is warning about are cyclical, building to a peak, then quiet for two or three years after.
Perhaps some insect neurologist will be able to find a way to convince grasshoppers that they themselves are tasty and delicious next time they plan to take the plains.