Insects that prey on crops and carry plant disease have not eased their assault during Utah's drought, says Utah State University Extension Entomologist Jay Karren.

"Insects have done more damage in Utah this year than most people realize," he said Saturday.Karren said insects and disease have taken advantage of plants weakened by lack of moisture "just as colds and flu attack stressed humans."

He said even though the aphid population might be lower in the drought year, the insect's impact on alfalfa is greater.

Karren said mites on corn have been excessive along the Wasatch Front.

The bugs "speckle the corn leaves, the lower leaves turn brown and the brownness moves up the plant," he said.

"The drought has hit the corn crop hard, and two short crops in a row could absolutely decimate the livestock industry, which accounts for 50 percent of gross farm receipts," Karren said.