Hurricane, earthquake and locusts too!
Californians, this might be a good time to change your ways and get right with God.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Along with drought and climate change, a different type of threat is now devastating the fields of California farmers: grasshoppers.
The bugs are mowing down fields across Northern California.
“We’re getting counts of, you know, 100 to 200 grasshoppers per square foot in the fields,” said Modoc County hay farmer Bryce O’Sullivan. “The numbers are so bad that they’re actually completely eating it all the way to the ground.”
O’Sullivan says that most of his fields are at a complete loss for their second cutting due to the pests. Grasshoppers can consume up to 250% of their body weight daily and 30 pounds of the insects consume the same forage as a 600-pound steer, according to farm advisor Tom Getts of the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Grasshopper levels are anomalously high this year due to a combination of factors. A record dry and warm spring promoted higher populations, and fungi levels that normally keep grasshopper levels in check are much lower than normal.
This issue has been plaguing farmers in higher elevation farms in the northern mountainous regions of the state. The drought caused the pests to seek out moist, irrigated agricultural fields as opposed to dried out natural grasses.