Grasshopper Outbreak Continues In Nebraska Panhandle

The grasshopper population is declining, unfortunately Nebraska looks to be epic center of grasshoppers in North America. The 2013 Rangeland Grasshopper Hazard map reports the eastern panhandle has the highest risk areas for rangeland grasshoppers. In a interview with KNEB/Rural Radio Network, University of Nebraska Entomologist Dr. Jeff Bradshaw says grasshoppers will be noticeable in areas effected by the on-going drought.

The highest populations will in Northern Morrill, Garden, Dawes, along with southern Sioux and Box Butte Counties, eastern Banner County and parts of Cherry County, where grasshopper populations will exceed 15 per square yard.

The Animal Plant Health Inspection Service is forecasting the rest of the panhandle will have on average 8 to 15 grasshoppers per square yard.

In looking at the summer outlook, Bradshaw says rangeland grasshopper numbers are decreasing. The decline in grasshopper numbers is part of the natural cycle. Grasshopper numbers spike every 7 to 9 years, before the numbers crash.

When grasshopper numbers get high there are also a number of pathogens and other beneficial organisms that attack grasshoppers increase in number, so that eventally reduce the grasshopper population.

Bradshaw says also by having a cool and wet spring that kept numbers lower by having an increasing number of diseases that effect grasshoppers.

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