Invasive insects making their way into the Panhandle - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Invasive insects making their way into the Panhandle

(Source: KFDA) (Source: KFDA)
(Source: KFDA) (Source: KFDA)
cotton crop (Source: KFDA) cotton crop (Source: KFDA)

Grasshoppers and thrips have been spotted in the Dalhart area and could spread throughout the Panhandle if precautions are not taken. 

After a significant infestation in 2015, AgriLife is reminding farmers and residents that proper care can stop the spread of these unwanted pests.

"An individual farmer or an individual person can treat and spray around their own fields or home, but they would get re-infested soon after because of all the numbers of grasshoppers that we had and it can be a pretty bad threat," said Dr. Ed Bynum, Northern Panhandle Agrilife Extension Entomologist. "If you can control the young insects when they are nymphs, they don't have wings and they are not able to fly, if you can apply an insecticide it helps to keep them in check."

Grasshoppers, along with thrips, typically begin hatching in late April and peak in June. The Panhandle can see adults as early as July up until Fall.

Adults grasshoppers can live between 40 to 50 days.

"When grasshoppers get larger, they can consume a whole corn plant and just leave the stem," said Dr. Bynum. "For home owners, if you have a garden and the plants are small, the thrips will kill the leaves."

Plants that are particularly in danger are corn, cotton, tomatoes and flowers. To prevent unwanted breeding and a wide spread of these insects, AgriLife suggests checking plants every week.

"We are now using products for the little nymphs," said Bynum. "These products are insect growth regulators. When the grasshopper eats it, it then disrupts the grasshopper ability to morph from one life stage to the next life stage."

To keep pests from eating your garden, a store bought spray can help, but AgriLife also says to carefully read labeling to make sure they do not kill beneficial insects causing even more problems with other pests.

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