Producer options for grasshopper control

Michelle Mielke
Devils Lake Daily Journal

BISMARCK, N.D. – Drought years tend to produce more grasshoppers, which harm crops, pastures and rangeland. High temperatures also cause grasshoppers to mature more rapidly. According to the July 15 North Dakota State University (NDSU) crop and pest report, an increasing number of adult grasshoppers are present, which represents a greater risk to field crops. Adults are more mobile and fly to find greener fields for feeding and have a larger appetite. Frequent scouting is recommended to determine the level of infestation.

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service shows a male migratory grasshopper. Besides feeding on grasslands, large grasshopper populations can also devastate cultivated crops such as alfalfa, wheat, barley, and corn. (U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service via AP)

“Producers should scout their property and if grasshopper levels are economically damaging, they should take action. The adults have already laid eggs that will hatch next spring, so if control of immature grasshoppers is not taken in the spring, adults could be at even higher levels next year,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “Control measures are best coordinated between producers with neighboring fields, pastures and rangeland for maximum effect.”

This photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service shows grasshoppers eating plants.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) can help provide technical assistance by surveying and coordinating control between neighbors. Interested producers may reach the North Dakota USDA-APHIS office by contacting North Dakota State Plant Health Director Amy Mesman at 605-224-1713.

Counties do have the option to take control measures if they deem it necessary and funding is available. County commissioners may designate a county pest coordinator to administer available county funds to assist in controlling grasshopper populations.

Both NDSU and USDA-APHIS have been monitoring grasshopper levels all season. The latest reports do not indicate that populations have not reached a level that is economically damaging.

“Hotspots could still exist,” Goehring said. “If producers are concerned; they should contact USDA-APHIS for assistance in surveying.”