Earlier this spring, much concern developed over the possibility that grasshopper populations would hit record numbers later in 2010, devastating crops and rangeland of producers across the upper Midwest. For the last several years, summer seasons and harvest have seen battles against armies of grasshoppers, and entomologists heeded warning that 2010 would be even worse. However, much of the region has seen cooler than usual temperatures and some excessive moisture during the spring months. Will this atypical climate take care of most of the battle for producers before it becomes a problem?
Scott Schell is an entomologist for the University of Wyoming; he stated that the cooler weather, plus the moisture, would increase the likelihood of disease among grasshopper populations, potentially lowering the expected numbers. He also stated that if the eggs had hatched into weather conditions like those that have been occurring, the nymphs would have a higher mortality rate. If, however, the eggs do not hatch until the cool temperatures and moisture have passed, the drier, hotter weather that is sure to come to the area would allow the grasshoppers to thrive and the threat of catastrophic numbers will remain present.
Scott also advised producers to continue to prepare for the invasion of the grasshoppers by contacting the Weed and Pest Districts in Wyoming counties, and/or the USDA Aphis PPQ Offices in Montana counties for additional information and maps of predicted infestation.
© Northern Ag Network 2010
On Tuesday, June 8, the BLM announced that chemical grasshopper control treatments had begun on approximately 155,000 acres of BLM lands with in Johnson County, Wyoming as well as approximately 40,000 acres of BLM lands within Niobrara, Weston and Crook counties of Wyoming. Treatments are expected to be completed by the end of June in Niobrara, Weston, and Crook, but will likely last into July in Johnson County.
The efforts are being coordinated with the County Weed and Pest Control Districts in cooperation with the USDA Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS). The treatments are designed to suppress grasshopper populations where they are predicted to occur at high numbers that could cause substantial ecological and/or economic damage. The chemical begin used is non-toxic to mammals, birds, fish, and bees.
Posted by Kaci Switzer