Grasshoppers and Mormon crickets are a part of southern Idaho’s ecosystem, but they can pose a threat to landowners when their populations increase. (Courtesy of USDA)
Outbreaks of Mormon crickets and grasshoppers have been identified in southern Idaho’s Cassia, Oneida, Power and Franklin counties, according to an Idaho State Department of Agriculture press release. Assistance requests within a designated outbreak area are expedited, according to the department.
Mormon crickets and grasshoppers are native insects in southern Idaho’s ecosystem. However, populations reaching outbreak levels can cause serious economic losses within the agricultural industry. The insects cause damage to crops’ growth and seed production by eating the plants.
“We recognize that parts of the state are experiencing pest pressure beyond a typical year,” said Nic Zurfluh, the chief of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s Invasive Species Program Bureau. “Our team is working as quickly as possible to assist landowners. Ultimately our goal is to serve the industry by safeguarding agricultural commodities from the impacts of grasshopper and Mormon crickets.”
To qualify for assistance or reimbursement, individuals must own or manage at least five acres of agricultural use land in Idaho and be actively experiencing infestations of at least three Mormon crickets per square meter or eight grasshoppers per square meter.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s Grasshopper and Mormon Cricket Control Program has received over 182 requests for assistance for grasshopper and Mormon cricket control from agricultural-use landowners, a 62% increase from last year.
This season the department of agriculture has distributed 76,330 pounds of insecticide bait to qualifying landowners at no cost. It is the landowner’s responsibility to apply the bait, follow label directions and all state and federal laws. The department of agriculture has 53 reimbursements in progress for cases where insecticide bait has not been the optimal treatment. The department conducts right-of-way treatments on state highways when Mormon cricket densities reach hazardous levels.
Visit Invasive Species of Idaho’s website to submit a request for assistance. The department’s staff will schedule a time to evaluate the property and determine the most effective control method. To mitigate infestations on land that does not qualify for assistance, contact a local crop adviser or chemical supplier for guidance.
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