BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Voracious grasshoppers emerging in huge numbers are threatening to eat their way through vast areas of western rangeland where cattle graze.

The outbreak adds to the woes of a western U.S. drought that is drying up waterways, sparking wildfires and leaving famers scrambling for water.

In central Montana, more than 50 miles from the nearest town, rancher Frank Wiederrick says the grasshoppers “are cleaning us out." He fears he'll have to sell his cows as the infestation worsens.

U.S. agriculture officials are launching what could become their largest campaign since the 1980s to kill grasshoppers by spraying the range with pesticides from aircraft.

 

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