The excessive moisture causing seeding delays across much of Western Canada should be good for at least one thing – it will discourage the grasshoppers, say insect specialists. However, actual populations will depend on weather conditions in June and through the summer.
Grasshopper forecasts for the three Prairie provinces, based on surveys of adult grasshoppers taken in the fall of 2010 and released over the winter, showed relatively few areas of potential concern heading into the 2011 growing season.
There were no areas of Manitoba showing more than a light risk of grasshoppers, while in Saskatchewan most areas, aside from the southwest corner of the province, were also at low risk for grasshoppers. In Alberta, low populations were also reported across most of the cropland areas, with the largest areas of concern found in the southern grassland areas. The northern Peace River district was one cropland area that could be at risk of grasshoppers, according to the provincial report.
“Grasshoppers like hot, dry weather. They don’t like wet weather,” said John Gavloski, extension entomologist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. However, he added the wet conditions hampering seeding operations and flooding fields in many areas right now will have very little effect on actual grasshopper populations in the summer aside from delaying emergence.