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Grasshopper 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 Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.

The grasshopper CD project, a collaborative effort of ARS, USDA’s 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 project.

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:

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