If it seems like there has been an influx of grasshoppers and crickets this summer, you are right. And though you may not like that chirping sound in your garage, a specialist suggests you may not want to be too anxious to get rid of those crickets.
Jordan Bannerman is an instructor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Manitoba. He confirms southern Manitoba had above average populations of both grasshoppers and crickets this summer. Bannerman attributes that to the dry weather.
“We had fairly dry springs and summers,” says Bannerman. “That really enables grasshopper populations and cricket populations to build up.”
He notes the other major factor is egg laying conditions. Bannerman explains last year provided very good egg laying conditions in fall, which is when most grasshoppers lay their eggs, resulting in higher numbers the next year.
Even if you are not a fan of these insects, it may not be necessary to try and get rid of them, especially on your yard. Bannerman says neither will do much damage to your yard though they are an uneconomic pest in agricultural crops. And Bannerman says they definitely did a lot of damage to crops in southern Manitoba this summer.
“There has been fairly substantial control activities going on throughout much of the southern portion of Manitoba,” says Bannerman. “And they have continued to be problematic throughout the entire growing season.”
He adds most of the grasshoppers that we are seeing are adults that move around a lot and are fairly challenging to control. With grasshoppers starting to hatch in May and June, Bannerman says that is when people should be watching and considering their control decisions.
Bannerman explains grasshoppers and crickets are slightly different in their diets. Grasshoppers feed primarily on plant material. Some are fairly broad generalists feeding on most green plants, while others are more specialized, eating broad leaf plants.
As for crickets, being omnivorous, they are scavengers.
“They will feed on a variety of different materials, including other dead insects,” notes Bannerman. “They are not really detrimental to us really in any way, in fact they could be looked at in some ways as being beneficial.”