Experts say it could still be a bad year for grasshoppers

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GRASSHOPPER ON the front of a car outside Thompson Falls. (John Dowd/Clark Fork Valley Press)

Though this year has not yet become a terribly bad year for grasshoppers, and last year was supposedly worse, it is still likely to create conditions to bring a hard time onto locals and farmers.

This year several other states, including Nevada, have reported having a record bad year for the little pests. Grasshoppers like dry areas and come out in large numbers after unusually wet springs. Anyone who drives through the area of Hot Springs, a particularly bad area for the bugs, nearly having to use their windshield wipers the entire way and feeling as if they have just driven through a hailstorm of sticky yellow splatters can say how bad the insects can be for cars.

They can cause many problems for the paint, cake up their air intake and become extremely difficult to remove from windshields when dried. The real harm, however, is what the grasshoppers can do to people’s farms.

Though the country is far from the monumental plagues of the past there are still worries brought on by these little, endlessly hungry monsters.

One instance of the worst recorded swarm hails from the western U.S. where a plague more than half the size of California and home to trillions of locusts blasted through farmland and acreage devouring everything that they could find.

That was in 1875 and they were a now extinct species known as the Rocky Mountain Locust. Though this is a far cry from what can be faced today in the West, it still outlines the worries many farmers have of them.

They can eat everything they come across, all plant matter and farm growth, as well as their own kind after they perish. They can even damage fence posts and the paint on the sides of homes and barns. Grasshoppers can eat more than half their body weight in plant matter a day and don’t take breaks.

Female grasshoppers can lay hundreds of eggs and they can breed several times a year and each stage in the growth cycle of grasshoppers also eat plant matter. The problem can possibly be so bad that Wyoming even sets aside more than $2.7 million toward fighting the insects.

Farmers and locals can call Sanders County Weed Control to buy several kinds of effective grasshopper repellents and insecticides. Many of the employees there are extremely well versed in their hopper information and are able to help most people with their particular situational needs.

Some of the pesticides they sell are even safe for use around pets.

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