Grasshopper Infestation Hits Arkansas Hard

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An influx of grasshoppers has hit the state.

Phillip Sims, Pope County Extension Agent with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, said grasshoppers are very tolerant of the heat. He blames the recent mixture of hot and dry temperatures for this year's infestation.

Sims said grasshoppers are everywhere and are very hard to get rid of.

"Unfortunately, being an insect that flies, you can get an infestation one day, treat them with a pesticide and they would be back the next day," Sims said.

Grasshoppers can be pesky and gardeners like, Jenifer Hart, Westwood Gardens Associate Manager, say they can be destructive.

"In my yard personally, they have eaten all of the foliage off of most of my plants,” said Hart. “I have a pear tree and a lot of the leaves are missing, my tomatoes are completely bare and what fruit is left on them is not being eaten. My rose bushes have maybe three leaves on each one."

The recent grasshopper infestation is forcing many gardeners to call it quits.

"A lot of home owners and vegetable gardeners have basically given up on their gardens and are just waiting for better times to develop,” Sims said. “There is still some potential for fall gardens to go in."

This year's grasshopper swarm is more intense than Sims has ever seen.

"The high populations that we have been experiencing are just unlike anything we have experienced in recent years," Sims said.

Sims said the area may not see any relief from the grasshoppers until the fall.

According to Sims, grasshoppers are only dangerous to plants, not humans.

Sims also said the mass quantity of grasshoppers this year does not necessarily mean they will return in bulk next year.