Grasshoppers: Could They Ruin Crops Once Again?

Published on: 14:35PM Jul 09, 2010
Caydee Savinelli

On July 26, 1931, a swarm of grasshoppers attacked crops throughout the Heartland, devastating millions of acres in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. reports the swarm blocked out the sun, cornstalks were eaten and fields were left completely bare. This was long before most of us where born, but could we see a repeat this summer?
Media reports for the last few weeks tell us to be prepared for an invasion of these pests. Researchers who study grasshoppers say this could be the largest population they’ve seen in 30 years. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection service says there could be severe grasshopper outbreaks in Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Entomology has a website dedicated solely to grasshoppers, including what to look for, hazard maps and how to treat them.
Researchers believe the past year’s grass will be the first place grasshoppers establish themselves, so it’s important for growers with cattle to be on the lookout for populations and treat them early. These grasshoppers could also attack wheat, barley, canola, corn, soybean, alfalfa and sunflower, so growers need to monitor their crops and be prepared to spray those populations. 

Have you seen grasshoppers in your area?