Management Information Available From ARS
By Kim Kaplan
February 7, 2002
Winter winds may still be blowing,
but land managers are already planning for how they will deal with
grasshoppers, locusts and Mormon crickets this summer.
Last year was a bad one for these pests, and outbreaks tend to come in
multiyear cycles. In Utah alone last year, damage to state agriculture was
about $25 million.
The Agricultural Research Service has
made a CD-ROM and web site available to provide land managers with the best
pest management resources to help them deal with these insects. ARS is the
U.S. Department of Agricultures chief
scientific research agency.
The grasshopper CD project, a collaborative effort of ARS, USDAs
Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service, and the University of Wyoming,
was coordinated by the ARS Northern
Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Mont.
The web site and CD-ROM are comprehensive sources for the most recent
research in grasshopper management, identification, biology, ecology and
control tactics for federal, state and local land managers, weed and pest
districts, extension agents and ranchers. Decision-making software, which is
part of the package, can also help land managers decide if and when pesticide
spraying will make economic and environmental sense.
In 16 hours, a grasshopper will eat its own weight in green food. Seven
grasshoppers per square yard over 10 acres can eat the same amount as one cow.
Although the CD-ROM has not yet been widely advertised, about 2,000 have
already been requested by individuals from more than 70 countries--from Peru to
Tunisia and from Thailand to Ethiopia--as well as all parts of the United
States. While the information and software are specific to U.S. conditions,
many countries are interested in it as a model for developing their own
program, according to ARS entomologist David Branson, an editor with the
The CD-ROM is available without charge by contacting the Northern Plains
Agricultural Research Laboratory, 1500 North Central Ave., Sidney, MT 59270,
phone (406) 433-5038, fax (406) 433-2020,
The web site is on the World Wide Web at: