With swarms of grasshoppers making their presence known, Routt County plans to spray areas along Routt County roads 33 and 46 and U.S. Highway 40 west of town this weekend -- but after that, it's up to people to take care of their own insect problems.
This weekend's planned aerial Malathion insecticide spraying is part of the CSU Extension Office's final efforts to quell the grasshopper infestation, Routt County Cooperative Extension Agent C.J. Mucklow said.
Before wrapping up the program, some reports of grasshoppers within the city came before Mucklow. Mike Newman, of the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Department, contacted Mucklow for some spot spraying at and around the baseball fields at Howelsen Hill. Areas near Bob Adams Field also were sprayed, Newman said.
"We don't have a very active program," Newman said. "We're basically relying on nature to take its course."
Mucklow also said it is time for nature to prevail.
"We've done as much as we can on the ground," Mucklow said. "So, we're wrapping up the program."
Mucklow said after this weekend, his role will go from fighting the pests to simply answering questions about how people can fight the bugs themselves.
Mucklow recommends buying liquid Seven or Malathion, available at most hardware stores, to combat the grasshoppers. Because the grasshoppers are maturing, time is running out before they'll be able to fly wherever they want, he said.
Bill Baldwin, a summer resident of Wolf Run Ranch on Twentymile Road, where grasshoppers are swarming over the pavement, has seen grasshoppers in concentrations of hundreds per square yard. About a week ago, Mucklow visited the ranch and sprayed many of the pastures with the growth-inhibiting insecticide Dimilin.
Because the grasshoppers move around so quickly and so often, Baldwin said it was hard to tell if the spraying reduced the number.
Last year, the ranch spent nearly $3,000 trying to slow the grasshoppers' steady devastation of the ranch's pastures, ranch manager Scott Flower said.
Mucklow said the best way to control the grasshoppers is to find dense concentrations and spray them directly with one of the two recommended chemicals.
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