More grasshoppers and crickets have been around Portage la Prairie, and even if you can't see them, you can hear them.
Dr. John Gavloski, an entomologist with Manitoba Agriculture, says the effect on crops depends on which species are seen in the area. Not all grasshoppers are considered pests. There are 84 different types of grasshoppers in the province and four of them are considered problematic.
"One of those is a grass specialist called the clear-winged grasshopper. It's what's more damaging to wheat and forage grasses," says Gavloski. " The other three -- migratory, the two-striped, and the Packard -- are more generalist. (There are) a lot of two-striped grasshoppers around. In some areas, they've been doing some crop damage, and farmers in some areas, have had to do some spraying. Either whole-field, or edge-spraying, and also some of the pastures."
On another note, Gavloski says there have been a lot of natural enemies to grasshoppers out and about. Blister beetles and bee flies eat grasshopper eggs and he believes that may have a positive effect.
As for crickets, you can hear them throughout our communities. They have thrived in the hot and dry conditions, and Gavloski says we have 17 different types in the province. One of the most common we're seeing at the moment, is the fall field cricket, which have a broad diet.
"Populations are quite high. They're generally not considered pests. There can be exceptions, as far as crops go," says Gavloski. "They feed on a lot of things, including plant seeds, so they consume a lot of weed seeds, actually. They're opportunistic predators, of things such as grasshopper eggs, and some other insects, and their eggs and pupa."
He says one of the biggest reasons people don't like these types of crickets is that they show up in the home.
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