Why are there so many grasshoppers?

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Normally here in Arkansas we are fighting off the mosquitoes, but now we're dealing with grasshoppers. That has many people asking why they're here and when will they disappear.

Lindsey Sexton said, "I go to work or I go into the store at night and I come out and they're all over my truck."

Jeff Silkwood said, "Yeah I've seen it (the grasshoppers) before. I've seen it worse than it is now."

Dr. Tanja McKay is an entomologist at Arkansas State University. She said there's a simple reason as to why we're seeing these insects everywhere.

McKay said, "At this time of year what we're seeing is these grasshoppers are at the point where they're mating."

McKay said they are more of a nuisance than anything else.

"We're seeing them in our soils, around our backyards, just doing their normal thing. A lot of these will be feeding on flowers on different types of plants," said McKay.

With it being harvest time the question is: Will these little insects pose any problems to crops?

"The differential grasshopper can be in situations and crop systems can be very detrimental. Will be feeding on plant tissue in farmers crops," said McKay.

However, the grasshoppers that we are seeing at the gas station or on your house are long horned grasshoppers, which come from a different family than those in the farm crops.

McKay said the grasshoppers will soon be laying their eggs but it takes quite awhile for them to develop.

"Likely around April, May even later you'll see eggs develop. Then the little immatures, small little tiny grasshoppers will come out," said McKay.

If you're ready for them to disappear, McKay said once they lay their eggs, the mature grasshoppers will die.

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