Grasshopper numbers to skyrocket this summer

A plague of biblical proportions could be hatching in your backyard. The OSU Extension Service says this summer's grasshopper population could be bigger than we've ever seen.Experts say, what you should be doing now is counting how many grasshoppers you see in your yard. They suggest looking at an area of about a square yard and if you count 12-24 grasshoppers you'll want to spray insecticide, or the problem will only get worse."It could be pretty bad because last year was bad," said OSU Extension educator Tracey Payton Miller. "We're still in a drought, so this year could be as bad or worse."Right now grasshoppers are very small. They're in what's called the nymph stage."They're wingless and they're just kind of congregating," said Payton Miller.The more the bugs they eat and the older they get, the bigger problem they'll become."Once they are devouring plants it's kind of a toss up as to how well you're going to control them," Payton Miller said.The OSU Extension says farmers and homeowners have from now until about July 1st to control the grasshoppers. After that, they're too old for insecticide to affect them.To treat your plants and property look for an insecticide with the ingredient carbaryl. If you have a garden, experts say your last line of defense is to directly spray the plants, try covering them with horticulture fabric.For more information on grasshopper management click here.