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Scientist issues grasshopper alert

May 26, 2010 at 11:04 AM

WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- A major infestation of grasshoppers may be in store for Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and the Dakotas this summer, a grasshopper specialist says.

Charles Brown of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is warning that this summer could be the worst for grasshoppers since the mid-1980s, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Brown, an expert on grasshopper suppression, says the threat assessment is based on the USDA's annual survey of adult grasshopper populations conducted each year in late summer.

High numbers recorded last summer were part of a natural buildup of grasshopper populations, Brown says.

Entomologist Jack Knight of the Nevada Department of Agriculture says grasshoppers can wipe out farm crops and decimate fields of native grasses that feed cattle.

"I've seen alfalfa fields where there's nothing left but stubble," Knight says.

Federal and state officials can spray land with chemicals that would eventually kill the insects.

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