Drought in North Texas Spawns Grasshopper Invasion

By Brian Scott
|  Friday, Jul 4, 2014  |  Updated 2:30 AM EDT
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Big grasshoppers are showing up all over North Texas this summer.

Brian Scott

Big grasshoppers are showing up all over North Texas this summer.

For yet another year, the dry spring and ongoing drought left North Texans with a loud, destructive summer annoyance: a lot of grasshoppers.

Texas A&M Agrilife experts said the combination of a warm, dry fall and a dry spring give grasshoppers ideal conditions to lay their eggs in and let them mature.

"If we were to see those rains earlier in the year we probably wouldn't have this high of grasshopper pressure that we're seeing now," said Denton County Extension Agent Brandon Boughen.

Instead, this year’s crop of eggs hasn’t gotten washed away and will slowly hatch throughout the summer; with many already fully grown now and looking for food.

"They're just hungry devourers, they're just a plague,” said Boughen. “So, they're just looking for food and unfortunately that food is our lawns, our shrubs, our flowers."

Many farm-to-market roads in north Denton County have been littered with grasshoppers, and grasshopper remains on dry days.

However, the grasshoppers aren’t staying rural. Neighbors report them becoming a common sight, in large numbers, at apartment complexes, in gardens and in yards throughout the DFW area.

"We've seen a lot of grasshoppers; they're eating my plants and driving me crazy,” said Coni Vasbinder from Crowley.

Agrilife recommends people keep their lawns cut short and eliminate weeds to force the grasshoppers to search elsewhere for food.

They said insecticides can also be effective, but tend to only last a few days before the grasshoppers return.

Boughen said they also prove much more effective on small, younger grasshoppers; unlike many of the large ones folks are reporting now.
 

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