During the summer months of 2005-2010, the high desert of Tuscarora, Nevada, was invaded by literally millions of Mormon Crickets. These are fairly large insects that are actually katydids and at times of lack of protein and salt in their diets swam in very large numbers, favoring the sagebrush, high desert ecologies typical of Northern Nevada. Mormon Crickets hadn’t invaded the area for 70 years.
Previous summers had been a glorious time spent enjoying the nice weather outdoors. The crickets moved into our tiny town, population 12 and stayed for each of those memorable summers, severely limiting our enjoyment!
As a way to deal with this phenomenon, I began recreating crickets from unfired clay, wire, and glue. I was offered an exhibition by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and began to make my “Swarm.” I worked for about a year and in the end made about 2000 bugs. They were installed in the Small Works gallery December 2009 to March 2010. The objects I have sent are a male and female- the one with the “tail”, which represents her ovipositor, that she uses to lay eggs.
A aggressive “baiting” program has given us back our lovely summers and the crickets are gone- till the next time.
— mailed from LA