A lack of funds could mean the Mormon cricket problem near this southwestern Utah County town will be much worse next year, according to health officials.

Greg Abbott of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service met recently with state entomologists, county agricultural representatives, local landowners and representatives of LDS Church farms in the area to assess the problem.He said the cricket problem between Elberta and Eureka may not be as bad as first thought and is not nearly as serious as a massive insect invasion near Vernon in Tooele County, which is the worst in 20 or 30 years.

"The problem is that our available funds to control the insects will be depleted by the end of this year . . . so we have no money to fight an insect invasion," he said. "With the number of adult crickets present this year, we anticipate a big rise in the population next year."

Abbott has hired an additional employee, so three of them will work on insect control.