Oklahoma farmers urged to guard against grasshoppers
Warm winter and spring are ideal conditions for grasshoppers in Oklahoma.
ARDMORE — For sheer creepiness, grasshoppers rate well below spiders, bees and cockroaches.
But grasshoppers can be more menacing than those other bugs combined.
DID YOU KNOW?
Grasshoppers are common worldwide. In the U.S. alone, there are about 1,000 grasshopper species. Oklahoma is home to more than 130 species. Of those, only four or five species are harmful to fields and crops. The pest species include the redlegged, migratory, differential and two-striped grasshopper. The differential and two-striped varieties cause the most damage.
SOURCE: Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension Service
“Grasshoppers can quickly devastate a field,” warned David Annis, soils and crop consultant at The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore. “Grass and forage producers need to be aware that this will be a potential problem this season.”
The trouble is the weather.
Oklahoma's mild winter and warm spring were ideal for grasshoppers; their eggs, laid in the fall, began hatching in April and will continue through June.
The young insects, called nymphs, are developing into adults.
The transition from nymph to adult grasshopper takes about 35 to 50 days.
Hay fields and grass pastures may be teeming with nymphs. And they'll be hungry.
They'll look to feed on the forage plants — grasses and legumes — that are meant for cattle. Cows, sheep and goats will have to compete for food; grasshoppers' smaller size and greater numbers will give them the advantage.
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