Grasshoppers: This time of year, the bane of nearly everything
Published on -7/22/2011, 12:03 PM
There's just something wrong with walking on ground that jumps with every step.
Yet the thousands -- if not hundreds of thousands of pesky grasshoppers -- make it seem like the ground is jumping.
Oh, to be sure, my new dog, a bounding, full-of-energy golden retriever seems to like it. He, of course, is the one who decided the millers that invaded my house weeks ago -- just as he moved in -- were fair fare for the chasing, providing a good snack along the way.
Suffice it to say after Milo, I didn't sweep up a single miller.
But now it's the grasshoppers, the bane of western grasslands, that have moved in on my small slice of Ellis County.
They are everywhere.
In the grass, on the sidewalk, on the gate. They even seem to be waiting at the front door, ready to come inside, where there are at least three plants I haven't been able to kill off just yet.
They, however, have been able to kill off just about everything else outside.
The few mums that I was able to get to survive over the winter now are gone, the leaves munched away by the invading horde of insects. A neighboring plant, one that has been alive now for several years, faced a similar death.
Now I see the grasshoppers are voraciously eating other less delectable plants -- weeds. Make no mistake, I'm not heartbroken about that, but it simply amazes me what they will eat.
Perhaps I should turn that around and make it what they won't eat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a list of grasses, sedges and forbs they will eat. It's a very long list, and ragweed is right there in the thick of it.
Some they could eat to their hearts' content. Others, well, they should head on down the road and take a sip of something that would kill them dead.
Alas, that's not happening.
Oh sure, there's a few interesting looking grasshoppers, thanks to their brightly colored armored shells, which, of course, is why it's so difficult to kill them off.
Overall, they're simply obnoxious, a pain in the, well, wherever they land.
Of course, I've little room to talk as my only losses have been a couple flowers and weeds.
I only can imagine what a field of corn or soybeans or sunflowers might look like, or the spraying bill to keep it looking slightly less damaged.
With the drought, however, it's debatable it would be worth the cost, especially considering what the lack of rainfall is doing.
In some cases, it's so parched, dryland corn just isn't good enough to serve as insect food.
As for me, I'll smash, squash and squish any grasshopper I can get my foot on.
Milo can eat the rest. Just think of the money I'll save on dog food.