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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

From our archives, 100 years ago

The onward march of crickets at Wilson Creek and Crab Creek was halted, but not by the beleaguered farmers.

The army of crickets was halted by a cold rain that spread over the Inland Northwest.

“The farmers are taking advantage of this lull in the fight to strengthen their defenses, as it is believed that as soon as the sun shines again the onward march will begin,” the paper said.

The crickets, advancing on a 10-mile front, had already destroyed hundreds of acres of crops. They were “about the size of a man’s thumb, and have a single black horn, like a rhinoceros.” They were said to breed in rocky places and then “emigrate in a mass.”

Sen. R.A. Hutchinson offered advice on what to do once the cricket advance continued. He said he had lived through a previous cricket plague in Big Bend country, and the farmers defeated the crickets by plowing a ditch a foot to a foot and a half deep. They would leave one side sloped so the crickets could get in, and the other steep so the crickets would be trapped in the ditch.

Then a “boy or girl on a horse” would drag a log along the ditch, killing crickets by the millions. Then a man would follow and shore up the ditch so the survivors could not get out. Then the horse would drag the log through again.

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