Insects abound

Bonnie Swetlishoff shows off her yard, almost overrun by grasshoppers.

Bonnie Swetlishoff surveys the exorbitant amount of grasshoppers in her yard.

A local woman has a real problem with bugs. In fact, her yard has become almost overrun by grasshoppers.

Bonnie Swetlishoff, who lives at the top of Valley Heights, said it’s the worst she’s seen in her 25 years living there.

“Never like this,” she said. “Last year was really bad. This year is worse. I’ve never seen it this bad.”

She admits she is no entomologist, but she fears that the grasshoppers might be migratory and could ravish the area.

“We are agricultural based,” said Swetlishoff. “We have farms here and if these things start moving we could be in trouble.”

Swetlishoff said the grasshoppers have destroyed her flowers, her trees and much of her lawn.

She has not tried any pesticides or other means of removal. “There are so many I wouldn’t know where to start,” she said. “Plus I’ve got a small cat.”

She said she’s talked to her neighbours and they are all having similar problems with grasshoppers.

Susanna Acheampong, entomologist for the Ministry of Agriculture, told the Gazette that it is indeed a really bad year for grasshoppers throughout B.C.

“Normally, grasshoppers go through cycles,” she said. “It’s been a really bad cycle this year throughout the province. We’ve had calls from the Kelowna area, from different areas where we’ve never seen it before. I’ve been to Spence’s Bridge, there’s an outbreak in that area. We’ve had calls from the Kamloops, Kaleden, Rock Creek areas.”

She said the cycles usually last from two to three years depending on weather conditions.

Acheampong has also heard from farmers in the area who have expressed concerns about grasshoppers.

There a few products that Acheampong recommends, including Nolo Bait, which is organic and not harmful to pets.

Archeampong said that it’s pretty late in the grasshopper lifecycle this year to do much. She said grasshoppers generally hatch in the spring.

“Once they start flying it’s very hard to control them,” she said. “If you want to control them, you should do it when they’re young at six to eight millimetres long.”

She also suggests that homeowners can use netting to protect small gardens.

“Instead of letting them eat it, you can cover your garden with a net,” said Archaempong.


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