Grasshopper Activity Heats

Grasshopper Activity Heats

Grasshopper Activity Heats. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

Now is a critical time for farmers and ranchers in parts of eastern and southern Oregon as millions of young grasshoppers emerge, ready to eat nearly every crop in sight. Landowners are being advised to take immediate action in some of the hot spots of grasshopper activity.

ROGG:  We are right at the beginning of the season for grasshoppers where the little nymphs literally pop out of the ground from the eggs. That's also the time when they cause the most damage because all they need to do right now is eat, eat, eat.

Helmuth Rogg of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program says outbreaks of the clear-winged grasshopper are taking place in Baker County and in parts of Klamath and Lake Counties with hundreds per square yard being reported in some locations.

ROGG:  When they are little, the grasshoppers- the only thing they can do is hop. Once they have wings on, they start flying and then you are in bigger trouble.

The treatment of choice for grasshopper control is the pesticide product dimilin, which acts as an insect growth regulator and is targeted to the emerging hoppers. Waiting even a couple of weeks may be too late since the dimilin won't work on adults. Officials are concerned because grasshoppers will consume the grass and move on to such crops as wheat, alfalfa, and even potatoes. Rogg says there are various ways to control the grasshoppers, but the method of choice right now targets newly emerging grasshoppers, which is the stage they are in at this point in the season.

ROGG: We would prefer people use Dimilin because it is a fairly selective chemical. It's an insect growth inhibitor focused on the grasshoppers, the young grasshoppers.

Rogg says the current outbreaks involve a high number of young grasshoppers and it's critical to keep them from becoming adults whenever possible.

ROGG: There can be several hundreds up to a thousand per square yard. We are talking about tiny little nymphs. They are about half a centimeter or smaller. Once they are adult, they can fly for miles and they look for food. As soon as they run out of grass they go for alfalfa.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.


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