Grasshoppers have descended upon rural Waterford in "Biblical" proportions, chewing through rose bushes and nearly any other plant they can find, a resident says.
John Raley said clouds of the flying bugs billow up from the ground when he walks on his family's 3,500-acre cattle ranch, located just off Crabtree Road and about 10 miles east of Waterford.
"They're all over," Raley said Monday morning. "It's driving me nuts."
Raley attributes the hopper plague to an unusually wet and cool spring. He said the invasion is the worst he has seen in the several years he's lived in the area. The grasshopper numbers appeared to peak last week, but as of Monday he still planned to call in an exterminator for help in dealing with the critters.
Raley has used a leaf blower to clear the bugs from near his hilltop home. When he clears out the filter on his swimming pool, he fills up a 2-gallon bucket with dead bugs.
He said the grasshoppers have devoured a rosemary bush, chomped a lemon tree and gnawed his lawn.
"We had nice, big beautiful yard," he said. "Now it just looks like I haven't watered it."
He said he teenager stepdaughter is frightened of the bugs and won't go outside. His wife cried when the grasshoppers ate up a prized rose bush that was growing in a trellis.
"They just cleared it off," he said. "It's just nothing but little branches."
This article originally appeared on KCRA.com.