In the same field where scientists recorded mating calls of male grasshoppers, those scientists loudly played back the calls, even as the male grasshoppers went on with their live calls. The females flocked to the loudspeakers. Volume counts. (from For What It's Worth by L. M. Boyd, Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN Thursday March 9, 2000, 2A)
A grasshopper's eggs won't hatch unless they've been frozen. (from For What It's Worth by L. M. Boyd, Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN Tuesday, May 9, 2000, 2A)
Hungry grasshoppers have been know to eat the paint off houses.
Grasshopper Sparks Wildfire
Coulee City, Wash. (AP)--There are lightning-caused wildfires. There are wildfires sparked by human negligence. And there are fires started by flaming grasshoppers.
A grasshopper that was incinerated after it jumped onto an electric fence caused the fire that broke out Sunday on the Colville Indian Reservation, said Roland Emetaz, spokesman for the Central Washington Area Team, the area's wildfire coordination agency.
"The grass is very dry in this country," Emetaz said. "Any ignition and you've got a fire." The fire northeast of Grand Coulee Dam had spread to 3,500 acres by Monday. (from Odds 7 Ends, Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2000, p 2A.)
Reports from Texas say that some areas of the state are having serious grasshopper infestations. The problem has been building over the past two years. As many as 25 to 30 hoppers per square yard have been found.
Grasshoppers in such numbers destroy all vegetation, leaving Texas ranchers with nothing to feed their animals. Reports say that crop dusters are spraying, hoping to eliminate the pests, but spraying often fails to solve the problem.
The Texas infestation isn't the first time the agriculture community has suffered from grasshopper plagues. According to CAPPER'S WEEKLY, grasshoppers were a problem in some areas in 1931.
The headline on Page 1 of the Aug.1, 1931 issue reads: "Plague of 'Hoppers Worst in 50 Years."
The article said the Dakotas, Nebraska and Iowa were the areas with the worst grasshopper problem.
"On sections where the infestation is worst the hoppers have made a clean sweep just as they did in the 'grasshopper years' of the '70s. Fields are denuded of every green blade and in a day or two look as though all vegetation had been cut down by a fiery blast."
The article said that in one 1,600-mile area of Iowa inspected by entomologists, the insects had not left enough vegetation to feed a single animal.
Apparently, grasshoppers are little eating machines, and farmers try anything to stop them. The article implied that one farmer hoped his poultry flock could consume the problem It said:
"Near Pierre, S.D., a farmer drove his flock of turkeys into a badly infested field, and the hoppers stripped the feathers off the fowls."
People in Union County, S.D., fought the plague with prayer and poison According to the article, they made batches of poison, mixing 20 pounds of bran with a pound of Paris green or white arsenic. They stirred in a quart of molasses, three oranges--rinds and all--and three and a half gallons of water until the mixture became crumbly.
The mixture was scattered through the fields in rows in early morning or late evening. The grasshoppers found and ate the concoction. And every bite taken meant one less insect. Of course, the poison couldn't be used near poultry or other farm stock.
The 1931 grasshopper infestation hit on top of other financial woes for farmers and was illustrated in a cartoon titled, "The Last Straw," which appeared in the Aug. 15, 1931 issue.
But farmers are resilient, and those in 1931 tried to turn a disaster into a profit.
The Aug. 8, 1931 issue of CAPPER'S WEEKLY ran a short article that told how Nebraska farmers, led by American Legion posts, caught and sold grasshoppers at 20 cents a pound to feed fish at state hatcheries.
An article in the August. 15, 1931 issue talked about using grasshoppers for chicken feed.
"Placing toughs of clear water on the front of automobiles with a canvas frame behind the troughs, farmers near Lamar, Colo., are gathering grasshoppers for chicken feed next winter. The hoppers are taken from the troughs and put into bags to dry. One farmer gathered 30 bushels of hoppers to the acre."
In spite of our efforts to get ri of them, grasshoppers seem to make their presence known on a regular basis. And they probably always will. After all, didn't they plague the people in Biblical times, too? (from CAPPER'S, August 22, 2000 p. 28)