Methodology

The 2022 grasshopper population map and 2023 forecast information is based on adult grasshoppers counts conducted in August 2022 by the Agricultural Fieldmen across the province. 

The adult grasshopper counts give an indication of the number of individuals capable of reproduction and egg laying. Environmental factors can result in higher or lower actual populations than forecast. Individual producers need to be aware of the potential risks in their area and monitor fields accordingly and then make the appropriate decisions if control measures are required.

For information on identification, life cycle, damage and pest management, see Grasshopper – Overview.

Survey findings

Peace River Region and North Central Alberta

The 2022 grasshopper survey found moderate to light numbers of grasshoppers in isolated pockets in the Peace region, but the majority of the region 0-2 grasshoppers per square metre were reported.

After evaluating 14 years of grasshopper data, a trend has emerged that one species (Melanoplus bruneri, Bruner’s spur-throat grasshopper) in the Peace and northern crop-production areas seems to have a two year lifecycle. On the Alberta side of the Peace, a pattern of odd years with grasshopper numbers that can cause crop loss issues, while in the even years the numbers are low. If the pattern holds true, then Bruner’s grasshopper could be an issue in the Peace and the northern crop production areas in 2023.

Southern Alberta

In the south and eastern border regions of AB, grasshopper numbers have been increasing since 2021, both in area and numbers. In 2022, grasshopper numbers increased in the same areas that had high numbers in 2021. August and September of both 2021 and 2022 were warm and dry, these are ideal conditions for grasshopper egg laying and grasshopper development.

 It was anticipated the 2022 survey map would indicate significantly higher grasshopper numbers, and a significant increase in the infestation area. There is potential for outbreaks in the southern region and along the eastern border region in 2023.

Scouting in areas with significant grasshopper risk in late May and June of roadsides and field edges and where high concentrations were found the previous year is vital to understand the risk of grasshopper risk.

 

On individual farms, particular attention should be paid to areas that traditionally have higher grasshopper populations. In addition, grasshoppers tend to lay their eggs near areas of green growth in the fall that will provide potential food sources for emerging young the following spring. Areas with early green plant growth such as field margins, fence-lines and roadsides are also areas that will give early indications of potential grasshopper problems.

Control measures

If insecticides are needed, note label precautions regarding user safety and proper application techniques and instructions to reduce impacts on non-target organisms. It is important to remember that control measures are intended to protect the crops from economic damage and are never successful in totally eliminating grasshopper populations. It is easier to scout and control grasshoppers earlier in their lifecycle rather than waiting until they are more mobile.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen who complete this survey for us, your help is so valuable to the continuation of this very important work. Thank you to Dez Twa for your assistance with data entry. Thank you Ross Weiss, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon for you contribution to this summary and for producing the map.

Population maps

Resources

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