Air strikes called in against grasshoppers

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Air strikes called in against grasshoppers


By MJ Clark

May 24, 2010 -- TORRINGTON - According to an article in the Southwest Iowa News, the swarm of grasshoppers expected to blanket Wyoming this summer is drawing fire from the air.

Eight nymph grasshoppers can eat as much forage as a cow, and these eating machines can fly up to 60 miles a day. So, a partnership between Wyoming Weed and Pest, state agencies and grasshopperlandowners is calling in an air strike against the voracious bugs.

The plan is to form a "Hopper Air Force"by calling up more than 30 planes from as far as Texas to join the fight. The planes will be spraying the insecticide Dimilin 2L mixed with canola oil.

While the insecticide has a low toxicity level for mammals, reptiles and birds, the mixture weakens the exoskeleton of developing grasshoppers. Because the mixture won't hurt adult insects, honeybees and other insects won't be impacted.

Advanced technology will be used to coordinate aerial spraying of the grasshoppers, which have begun hatching this week. Because most of the pilots are unfamiliar with Wyoming terrain, they each will be using GPS coordinates to align their flight patterns.

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