Several periods of unseasonably cool spring weather have been a blessing for many Utah farmers, Agriculture Department plant protection and quarantine program officials say.
"Right now, it looks like grasshoppers will be unusually light in Utah this year," program spokesman Tom Crowe said. "It looks like the spring weather killed a lot of the early hatching grasshopper nymphs."The federal agency is looking at a couple of small spraying programs for grasshoppers in Beaver, Garfield, Tooele and Washington counties, he said. "But it all depends on the buildup."
The areas in Beaver and Garfield counties are on Forest Service land, he said, while the Tooele County site is on a Bureau of Land Management tract in Skull Valley, and the Washington County area is mostly on private land.
"Everything is ready to go, but we're taking a wait-and-see attitude," Crowe said. "It's nice to have a relatively easy year after 1985 and 1986."
In 1985, the federal agency sprayed 1.38 million acres of land in Utah for a massive swarm of the crop-devouring insects. The next year, it sprayed about 250,000 acres for grasshoppers.
"With this year's weather, it will probably be another two or three years before we could see another infestation anything like 1985," he said. "But we will see another big one because they run in cycles.
This year, however, state and federal crews are spreading 10 tons of poisoned wheat on the Goshute Indian Reservation, in Millard County's Oak City area and near Dinosaur National Monument to kill Mormon crickets.
The poison is deadly only to crickets, grasshoppers and locusts, officials said, and should not harm wildlife or domestic animals.