Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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Richard Piatt reporting Grasshoppers and Mormon Crickets are on the move again, and the debate about how to control them is heating up.
In Tooele County, the state of Utah and the B-L-M have sprayed from the air--- but the Forest Service is refusing to do that.
They're already out and hungrier than ever.
But from Central Utah, to Southern Idaho, there are sharp differences about how to get rid these perennial pests.
They're spraying the bugs from the air in Tooele County, even over homes near Erda. People are desperate to control grasshoppers and crickets using the growth inhibitor 'Dimilin'.
But not every area is getting sprayed. Mormon crickets are thriving on Forest Service land areas not sprayed.
Here the Forest Service uses poison 'bait', spread on the ground. Farmers and ranchers in the area say they notice the difference compared to B-L-M and State land, which is sprayed.
Darrell Johnson/Tooele Co. Landowner " THE BAIT PROGRAM SIMPLY CAN'T COVER THE AMOUNT OF GROUND TO BE EFFECTIVE. IT SIMPLY DOES NOT NEARLY AS EFFECTIVE AS THE SPRAY PROGAM SEEMS TO BE."
Blaine Russell/Tooele Co. Landowner "THEY GOT AFTER THE CRICKETS EARLY ON THE BLM AND STATE GROUND. AND I THINK THEY REALLY GOT A HANDLE ON IT. "
Blaine Russell is a rancher who says the crickets are eating the grass off the land his cattle graze on.
No formal study has been done comparing treated versus untreated land. But simple observation reveals at least 20 crickets per square yard. That's a lot.
Extension agent Matt Palmer is trying to answer questions about what works and whether the effort is worth it.
Matt Palmer/Utah State Agriculture Extention "THERE ARE SOME WHO BELIEVE THEY'RE STRIPPING THE WHOLE AREA. SOME BELIEVE THEY'RE NOT DOING ANYTHING. SO WE WANT TO PUT SOME SCIENCE TO THAT."
Just looking at the crickets is enough for some people to pull out all the stops to get rid of them.
It's just a lot harder to get agreement on how to do that.
In a lot of areas, controlling the crickets has been a challenge---not because of the bugs themselves, but getting government and private land owners together to handle the situation.