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Grasshoppers shouldn't impact local ag economy

Sep 12, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Fremont County Weed and Pest officials don't think the influx of grasshoppers flying through the area this year will have much of an economic impact on local agricultural production.

"That's not to say that won't happen next year," Weed and Pest assistant supervisor Nancy Pieropan said Thursday. "With a lot of these things you have high and low cycles, (so) I wouldn't be surprised if grasshoppers aren't increasing for the next couple of years."

This year, though, she said the hordes of hoppers arrived late enough to protect area farmers from too much production loss.

"I haven't gotten any complaints," Pieropan said, noting that the chemicals many producers spray for other pests will kill grasshoppers as well.

'Dessert tray'

Private homeowners have approached her about the grasshoppers, however, especially people who live in the country with a yard that is "the only green thing for miles."

"That looks like dinner (to a grasshopper)," Pieropan said. "You can spray and try to knock down the numbers, but you've got a natural battle on your hands. There are hundreds of acres out there, and you have the dessert tray."

She offered an alternative to expensive chemical sprays, suggesting any private resident battling and onslaught of grasshoppers in their lawn or garden could buy some chickens or turkeys that act as natural predators to the bugs.

Otherwise, she said people just have to wait until the first hard frost to say farewell to the pests.

"There are always grasshoppers out here," Pieropan said. "They're good; they're needed; they're part of the whole ecology. ... But once our gardens start getting eaten they lose their charm."

FCWP provides a 40 percent cost share on insecticides for grasshopper control. For more information call 857-3140 or 332-1052.

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2017-09-24

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