Mormon crickets and grasshoppers, the buzz words of the summer, finally have subsided but not without leaving behind the potential for another heavy infestation next spring.
Local experts say the weather this winter will have little impact on pest numbers. The deciding conditions could come next spring."Both of the insects have the ability to overwinter, no matter how cold it gets," said Rauhn Panting, Oneida County agricultural extension agent.
University of Idaho entomologist Larry Sandvol said several weeks of warm weather next spring, followed by at least a week of cold, wet weather, would provide the best pest control.
Both species need warm days to hatch eggs that have been laid this summer and fall. If the hatch is followed by cold and wet conditions, the nymphs will die.
Panting said he has been telling area farmers that if conditions work out right, they will have the first two weeks of April to plant and the last two weeks then will provide pest control.
Panting said he's heard few reports of Mormon crickets, but grasshoppers still are active. "They're still there and they're still eating," he said.
Cricket numbers also are subsiding in Franklin, the other county hardest hit by the summer infestation, said Wayne Kole, agricultural extension agent.
He still is hearing reports of grasshoppers and is urging farmers to use a systemic insecticide when planting fall grain.
"I think we didn't spray early enough; therefore we'll still have a good supply next year," Cole said, unless the weather cooperates.