An alien insect species, dubbed R75 by SGC scientists, was responsible for the devastation of numerous off-world crops. Various specimens retrieved from different off-world locations were incredibly voracious, to the point that they would literally eat themselves to death, and the specimens were brought to the Gamma Site for study as a possible weapon against the addictive kassa harvests produced and distributed by the Lucian Alliance. It was later determined, however, that R75 was created by the Priors of the Ori as a follow-up to the Prior plague, and the insects were specifically designed to circumvent any attempt to forestall their destructive nature.
The black beetle-like insects, approximately two inches in length, only manifested themselves on planets recently visited by Priors. Initial research proved incredibly challenging due to the short life spans of the specimens until scientists succeeded in dramatically increasing their life cycle by depriving them of sustenance. When they feed, they die within a matter of hours, but when they starve, they live for days. Although they are not nocturnal, and will function during the daylight, they appear lethargic in the light and prefer the darkness, when they become far more active, and they spend most of their time burrowing underground, consuming crops from the roots up. They also display an interesting defense mechanism, using echolocation to detect enemies, but this same mechanism is also used to detect prey, and they make a high pitched chirping sound when traveling, feeding, or retreating. They are asexual, capable of reproducing at an extraordinary rate, and they are incredibly adaptive, making it very difficult to defeat them.
Dr. Myers, the lead entomologist at the Gamma Site, and his partner, Dr. Pullman, were studying the R75 specimens at the off-world facility. Having been denied crops to extend their life cycle, the physiology of the insects had adapted to an alternate food source. The few dozen lethargic specimens seemed uninterested in eating plants, but when Dr. Meyers introduced a sample of meatloaf into the container, the insects instantly became highly active, chirping and devouring the meat. The change in diet may have triggered a massive reproductive cycle. Within hours, the few dozen insects had become thousands, and they were carnivorous. The filled container burst, the swarm of insects breached containment, and Dr. Meyers exercised the disposal protocol, eliminating them via the bio-hazard disposal chute. However, a single specimen bit Myers on the arm, apparently laying eggs in him which incubated, hatched, and fed on Myers as a food source, triggering another reproductive cycle. Although Myers exhibited no symptoms at first, he collapsed shortly afterward, and as he was being transported to the gateroom in a bio-hazard rescue pod for quarantine on Earth, thousands of insects poured out of his mouth, spreading across the gateroom, and triggering a lockdown.
A delegation from the International Oversight Advisory, including Chapman, La Pierre, Shen Xiaoyi, and Richard Woolsey, had been touring the Gamma Site facility, and they were escorted to the planet's surface for safety by SG-1. However, the R75 insects escaped from the base and traveled in swarms underground, using echolocation to track their prey and killing two of the SFs who were escorting the delegation. In one instance, the insects swarmed up from the ground, completely covering and instantly devouring their prey. In the second instance, a single insect burrowed into the airman's body where it fed and reproduced as it had done with Dr. Myers. The delegation headed for rocky terrain and caves to make it more difficult for the insects to follow them underground, but the continually multiplying swarm pursued the delegation all the way to the planet's unmanned research station. Because the insects are highly sensitive to sound, they were held at bay temporarily by the loud concussive force of C-4 and P-90 gunfire, and the delegation was beamed aboard the Odyssey just as their position was compromised.
The SGC enacted Protocol CR91, and the Odyssey launched a payload of a lethal neurotoxin that would wipe out R75 at the Gamma Site and on the planet. However, in the meantime the SGC received word that two more planets had been targeted by the insects, and R&D continued working on a means to destroy them.
Cross Reference: Chapman, Gamma Site, International Oversight Advisory, La Pierre, Dr. Myers, Ori, Colonel Pearson, Prior, Protocol CR91, Dr. Pullman, Shen Xiaoyi, Walker, Richard Woolsey
Episode Reference: The Scourge