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Bugged by hard rock? You’re not alone

Submitted by on Wednesday, 29 April 2009 No Comment

Troops have used David Bowie to get Manuel Noriega to surrender and Barney to get  Gitmo prisoners to talk.

And then there’s the New Zealand town that thinks Barry Manilow will eradicate mall rats.

The latest entry into the Music as a Torture Device Hall of Fame, though, is in the insecticide division.

The tiny town of Tuscarora, Nev., plans to pump up the jam in hopes of ridding itself of a plague of Mormon crickets, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It seems that this is no plague of Disneyesque bugs singing “Give a Little Whistle.” Known as katydids in the East, where they’re relatively harmless in the small proportions seen there, the Mormon cricket can’t fly but still can travel over a mile a day. They leave agricultural destruction and road hazards in their wake.


One Utah farmer estimated that he lost 15 percent of his crop during an invasion six years ago that some experts believe was the worst in history, Reuters reported.

The Mormon cricketsm which the Journal says march in columns up to two miles long and a mile wide, cause problems for drivers when their crushed carcasses slicken roads. One Nevada County had to use plows to scrape away the remains last year.

In Tuscarora, the 13 residents  are getting ready to bring out their boom boxes and crank them up in hopes of sending the crickets on their way.

In years past, folks have blared radio station KHIX from dawn to dusk, swearing that the hard rock drove the bugs away. “The theory was they’d hate heavy metal,” one resident told the Journal.

Ay, but Led Zeppelin and the Stones are hardly heavy metal. Had the town used true metal the crickets would never have returned. One Iron Maiden concert did it for me.

And this  year, KHIX has changed its format from hard rock to hot adult contemporary. That could lead to interesting comparisons.

Do more bugs keel over to the Stones version of “Satisfaction” or to Britney Spears’ cover? Is Nickelback’s “Burn it to the Ground” a better method than Led Zepplin’s “Trampled Underfoot?”

The most important question, though, is why Congress has considered devoting $1.45 million to study the problem.

With that sum, people living in plagued areas could afford to hire a band for a limited tour. The Stones might even offer a cut rate if someone could convince Keith Richard that the buzzing of the crickets is a bigger buzz than Dad.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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