Model simulations were used to estimate grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) development and oviposition as of August 15, 2021. Above-average temperatures during June, July, and early August continue to result in a noticeable increase in the rates of oviposition.
Grasshoppers generally begin to lay eggs in early August. Model simulations for 2021 predicted that oviposition was expected to begin in mid-July. Earlier oviposition can result in above-average production of eggs and increased overwintering survival of eggs. This may result in potential increased grasshopper risk for the 2022 growing season. Model runs for the 2021 growing season (April 1 – August 15) indicated that oviposition should now be occurring across most of the prairies and is predicted to be greatest in southeastern Alberta (Fig. 1).
Grasshopper Scouting Steps:
● Review grasshopper diversity and scouting information including photos of nymphs, adults, and non-grasshopper species to aid in-field scouting and accurately apply thresholds for grasshoppers.
● Measure off a distance of 50 m on the level road surface and mark both starting and finishing points using markers or specific posts on the field margin.
● Start at one end in either the field or the roadside and walk toward the other end of the 50 m, making some disturbance with your feet to encourage any grasshoppers to jump.
● Grasshoppers that jump/fly through the field of view within a one-meter width in front of the observer are counted.
● A meter stick can be carried as a visual tool to give perspective for a one-meter width. However, after a few stops, one can often visualize the necessary width and a meter stick may not be required. Also, a hand-held counter can be useful in counting while the observer counts off the required distance.
● At the endpoint, the total number of grasshoppers is divided by 50 to give an average per meter. For 100 m, repeat this procedure.
● Compare counts to the following damage levels associated with pest species of grasshoppers:
0-2 per m² – None to very light damage
2-4 per m² – Very light damage
4-8 per m² – Light damage
8-12 per m² – Action threshold in cereals and canola
12-24 per m² – Severe damage
24 per m² – Very severe damage
For lentils at flowering and pod stages, >2 per m² will cause yield loss.
For flax at boll stages, >2 per m² will cause yield loss.
● More practically, the following thresholds are offered but, in the event of additional crop stress (e.g., drought), the use of “may be required” versus “control usually required” requires careful consideration:
Biological and monitoring information (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, Saskatchewan Agriculture, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Also, refer to the grasshopper pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).