Weather keeping grasshoppers at bay

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Taking care of lawns could be a little easier this year. Chances of a grasshopper infestation are low.

Routt County Extension Agent CJ Mucklow said that a combination of cooler and wetter weather conditions in early fall and late spring has kept the grasshoppers at bay this year and, hopefully, in the years to come.

"We can put that to bed and never see it again," Mucklow said about the grasshopper infestation.

Counts done across the county did not meet government requirements to spray for the insects.

If there are more than 15 grasshoppers per square yard, it is considered an infestation.

This spring, Mucklow found about two per square yard.

During the grasshopper plagues of 2002 and 2003, counts were as high as 100 to 200 per square yard.

"We might see numbers (increase), but I don't think we'll have a grasshopper infestation this year," Mucklow said.

Mucklow said the counts were done from Hayden to Yampa, and the entire county appears to have low grasshopper numbers. Part of the explanation is cool, wet weather at the end and start of summer.

Grasshoppers lay eggs at the end of summer, and they hatch during the spring.

August was cooler than in recent years, and the spring has been cool and wet, as well.

"We've had a much more traditional weather pattern," Mucklow said.

The county's grasshopper infestation began in 2002, when a hot, dry spring and summer provided thriving conditions for the insects. Grasshoppers were still around in alarming numbers in 2003, but began to taper off in 2004. In 2003, the Colorado State Cooperative Extension Office sprayed growth-inhibiting insecticide on about 28,000 rural acres.

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