Grasshopper workshop set for Friday

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C.J. Mucklow has begun getting calls about grasshoppers -- more than a month earlier than he got them last year.

The Routt County extension agent says some areas have the potential for worse infestations than last year. Attempting to keep the pests at bay, Mucklow has been putting together a combat plan.

The Routt County Extension Office will host a grasshopper workshop from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday at the Routt County Commissioners Hearing Room in the Routt County Courthouse. The workshop will include two University of Wyoming entomologists, Scott Shell and Alexadre Latchininski.

The seminar is free and open to anyone; however, discussion will not cover backyard residential control, Mucklow said. It will be directed more toward landscape-management companies, ranchers or large-parcel landowners.

Mucklow said he hopes the entomologists will be able to answer most questions about the hoppers.

During the past year, the extension office has discovered there are nine species of grasshoppers that inhabited the area last summer, taking advantage of the warm and dry climate, Mucklow said.

"The potential is greater than last year in untreated areas," Mucklow said. "For the treated landscapes. The potential is less, but that doesn't mean they won't have a problem, either. We need Mother Nature's weather to change to a cold and wet climate after they hatch. That could knock the grasshoppers right out. But it looks bad right now."

Mucklow says it looks bad because of the dry March and early, hot spring. And grasshoppers thrive in hot and dry conditions.

While infestations usually come in cycles, Mucklow said this could be the last year of the grasshoppers being the nuisance they have been during the past two summers. This summer, the extension office will use only aerial applications of pesticides, because ground applications take too long and cover too little ground, Mucklow said.

The grasshopper workshop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service. Those who plan to attend are asked to call Mucklow by Thursday at 879-0825.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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