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Oklahoma could see grasshopper influx

If this year’s summer experiences long gaps of high heat and dry weather, Oklahoma could witness a grasshopper infestation, agriculture researchers said.
by Kyle Schwab Modified: June 7, 2014 at 10:15 am •  Published: June 7, 2014

If this year’s summer includes long gaps of high heat and dry weather, the state could witness a grasshopper infestation of significant proportions, officials with the Oklahoma State University Agricultural Department said.

Oklahoma’s sporadic weather patterns — producing lots of rain one week, followed by lots of heat the next — make it hard to predict early on if the summertime season will bring on a plague of insects, but the weather pattern will play a big role, one OSU insect expert said.

“It’s not just the western parts of the state, there are pockets in eastern Oklahoma where the rain just has not fallen at the right time, even with recent rainfall in June,” said Tom Royer, extension entomologist at OSU. “Agricultural producers need to be taking proper preventative steps between now and July 1.”

Now is the time to act, before grasshoppers grow their wings and become harder to target with treatments, Royer said. If ranchers or homeowners can find grasshopper hatch sites, they can prevent spreading by spot-treating.

Oklahoma’s 130 species of grasshoppers are considered “grazers.” Most are not pests, but a few species will eat just about anything green, and they’re known to damage corn, soybean, alfalfa and wheat fields predominantly.

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