WeatherWeather Wise


Weather Wise: Grasshoppers and Rain

Posted at 4:29 PM, Jun 24, 2024

If you live in Montana you might have heard the phrase "we need the moisture" a few dozen times. Well, grasshoppers don't want the moisture this time of year. Grasshoppers can cause significant damage to crops like corn, alfalfa, wheat and barley and do so most frequently in areas with less than 25 inches of annual rainfall - that's most of Montana.

Right after grasshoppers hatch, they are most vulnerable to precipitation, especially heavy rains. The young nymphs are the most vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. Heavy rains this time of year can directly kill grasshoppers, slow growth and development and promote disease within the insects. Extended cool temperatures of less than 65 degrees along with rain during early hatching will result in starvation of the young nymphs and potentially reduced population during the rest of summer.

Last October the United States Department of Agriculture released it's 2024 Grasshopper Hazard Forecast for much of central and eastern Montana seeing a large density of grasshoppers this summer.

However, thunderstorms have recently soaked much of Eastern Montana. The timing of this rain may have caught the grasshoppers right at hatching time in late May and June when the nymphs are most susceptible to the weather.

We need the moisture, and eliminating grasshoppers is just another reason.