The Hoppers Are Coming
—Yet Again

Numbers from a fall grasshopper survey show that producers in the Provost area will again be facing increased numbers of the insects this spring, summer and fall.

Experts say that numbers are up, and this is consistent with what was expected for this year, as last year was a building year for the outbreak.

“Everyone should be aware of the grasshopper threat and some areas just have to be more aware than others,” says Jim Calpas, provincial integrated pest management specialist with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Edmonton. “The general rule is if you had a grasshopper problem last year, you are looking at an increased problem this year.”

One of the experts in the field, Dr. Dan Johnson, a research scientist who works as a professor at a research centre in Lethbridge told the The News in a telephone interview that most species of hoppers benefit by dry weather and with a weather pattern like that the insects are not so susceptible to disease.

Johnson says that in dry conditions the hoppers are better at breeding and laying eggs so if it’s dry from spring until fall “they have all the benefits”.

“Some grasshoppers are benefitted, believe it or not, by wet weather, so we have shifts in the kinds of hoppers.” He says that “now we have a big problem” with four or five different species. Crop pests and pasture pests are expected to be all out at the same time.

Rest of story in Print version in April 3 edition of The Provost News
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