Food & Health
Food & Health
Pulse Crops: Pea, lentil, chickpea
The grasshopper is an insect in the order Orthoptera. There are numerous grasshopper species of economic importance in agricultural crops and are often referred to as the short-horned grasshopper.
Grasshoppers are generalists and feed on a wide range of agricultural crops, such as small grains, flax and sunflowers. Grasshoppers overwinter as eggs, and nymphs start to emerge in late April to early May with peak egg hatch in mid-June. Nymphs (young grasshoppers) will go through five molts before transforming into adults. The length of time from egg to adult is 40 to 60 days. Adults of crop damaging species become numerous in mid-July with egg laying usually beginning in late July and continuing into the fall. Eggs are deposited in a variety of non-crop areas including ditches, shelterbelts, and weedy fall fields.
Adults and nymphs feed on green plant material, creating holes on leaves or pods. Lentil is less tolerant to grasshopper feeding than some other pulse crops. Grasshoppers pose the greatest threat from the bud stage through early pod development. Damage on lentil plants is often not highly visible because grasshoppers do not normally prefer lentil foliage. However, grasshoppers will consume flower buds and especially early pods of lentil plants. This can result in yield loss and a delay in maturity due to delayed pod set. Peas are not a preferred host of grasshoppers and field will not be damaged unless population levels are high.
Grasshopper outbreaks usually coincide with several years of low rainfall and drought periods. Cool, wet weather increases the diseases that infect and kill grasshoppers. Scout pulse crops for feeding injury from nymphs in the seedling stage, and for adults in the early bud stage through pod development.
For lentils, only two grasshoppers per square yard in the flowering or pod stage can reduce yields enough to warrant insecticide treatment.
For other pulse crops, grasshopper thresholds are based on the number of grasshoppers per square yard. Four 180 degree sweeps with a 15 inch sweep net equals one square yard. The infestation ratings are listed in the table below.
A "threatening" rating would indicate a need to treat with an insecticide.
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