There's a big grasshopper infestation in Valley County, the AP reports, with the state Department of Agriculture reporting crop damage and an explosion in the insect's numbers since July 4. State standards say a grasshopper outbreak reaches damaging levels when there are eight grasshoppers per square yard; there are now more than 200 grasshoppers per square yard in parts of Valley County. Click below for a full report from the Associated Press and KTVB-TV.
Ag Department: Grasshoppers infest central Idaho
CASCADE, Idaho (AP) — Officials with the Idaho Department of Agriculture say a grasshopper infestation is damaging crops and fields in Valley County.
Mike Cooper with the department's plant industries division told KTVB (http://bit.ly/13k4Rix ) that the hot, dry weather is providing perfect conditions for grasshoppers to multiply, and the population has exploded since the Fourth of July.
Cooper says more than 37 square miles around Cascade, Donnelly, Round Valley and Lake Fork have been hit hardest by the infestation. State workers began spraying for the critters last Thursday, and they hope to complete the task this week.
State standards say a grasshopper outbreak reaches damaging levels when there are eight grasshoppers per square yard. Cooper says there are more than 200 grasshoppers per square yard in parts of Valley County.
"A lot of ranchers started noticing they were losing hay fields, pastures. Grain crops were being damaged," said Cooper.
The Idaho Pest Act requires the state to assist ranchers and farmers who request help for controlling grasshoppers and Mormon cricket outbreaks. So far, the spraying appears to be working, Cooper said, though the state is only spraying areas where farmers and ranchers have specifically requested help. Notification is given to those who might work or live around the sprayed areas.
"The immediate results that we've had from the ranchers we've already sprayed is they seem to be happy with the amount of mortality they're seeing," said Cooper.
The farmers and ranchers who requested the assistance are splitting the cost of treatment with the state.
Information from: KTVB-TV, http://www.ktvb.com/
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.