While recent wet weather has kept some farmers from planting and cultivating their fields, it has been a boon in limiting the hatching and growth of Mormon crickets in Utah.
Deputy Utah Commissioner of Agriculture Edison Stephens said the Utah Department of Agriculture will begin attacking the crickets in the Uintah Basin and near Delta and Oak City in Millard County as soon as the weather clears."We've had reports Thursday and earlier this week that crickets are hatching in the Diamond Mountain area of the Uintah Basin and elsewhere, but all the rain we've been having has helped diminish the number of crickets in the state and slowed hatching."
Stephens said crews will use a 5 percent mixture of the chemical 7-4, or carbaryl, on whole rolled wheat and sprinkle it, mostly with hand spreaders, over 35,000 acres in the Uintah Basin, about 10,000 acres in the Oak City area and over about 5,000 acres on the Goshute Indian Reservation in Juab County.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service will experiment with the distribution of nosema spore, a fungus disease, on 2,000 acres in Utah and Colorado near the Dinosaur National Monument.
He said the spore will be placed with whole rolled wheat and spread in specific locations that can be monitored. While the 7-4 chemical acts in seconds after being ingested by a cricket, the spore may take 15 to 30 days to affect a cricket's nervous system and kill it.
"The spore is being used in an effort to kill crickets without hurting falcons that are supposed to nest near Dinosaur National Monument."
Stephens said his department has no new money this year to eradicate crickets or grasshoppers and has less than $500,000 in old money to fight not only crickets and grasshoppers, but also the apple maggot, cherry fruit fly and cereal leaf beetle.
"We won't know what kind of a problem we are going to have with grasshoppers this year until the middle of May, depending on the weather. We will attack grasshoppers throughout the state with 7-4 oil and malathion delivered to large areas by planes and also by hand-strewn carbaryl and wheat bait."