North Idaho Seeing Grasshopper Invasion

BENEWAH COUNTY, Idaho — Grasshoppers are invading several North Idaho counties.

Fields in Latah, Benewah and Kootenai County are alive with the bugs, and field inspectors say they are busier than ever before, helping farmers and landowners get rid of the pests.

The Way family calls it “herding” their grasshoppers, and if you take a quick walk across their front lawn, you can see the problem. There are thousands of grasshoppers making their front yard their new home.

“I have hoards of grass hoppers,” Vivian Way said.

They’re everywhere, hiding in the tall grass, even eating on the mowed grass…

“As long as it’s green, they’ll eat it,” Way said. “The door comes open and they’ll come in and make themselves at home.” 

They’re in the rocks, and on the picnic table, and they’re not going away. They’ve taken over.

“Bunches of the little buggers,” Way said. “It’s not a pretty site when you walk across the yard and see a fog.”

The grasshoppers have given the lawn a buzz cut and destroyed Vivian’s rhubarb plant. 

“You’ve got all sizes and they’re just easting everything,” Way said.

They sound like rain bouncing against their house. The Ways are among more than 60 North Idaho property owners dealing with an infestation of grasshoppers. 

“They’re something else, I’ll tell you,” Way said.

This year, Benewah County has quadrupled the amount of grasshopper killing pesticide they get from the state. And the Ways hope it won’t be long before they tap into the stash.

“Sometimes doesn’t it make your skin crawl?  Good thing I’m not scared of bugs,” Way said.

The sound of grasshoppers is almost deafening in the field behind the way’s house.  Within the next couple of days, a field inspector will come out and assess the problem, hopefully giving enough bait to cause a dent in the population.

If you are a property owner having problems with a grasshopper infestation in North Idaho, contact the Idaho Department of Agriculture’s Extension office in Latah County at (208) 883-2267. You must have 3 acres of land to qualify for help. The Department of Agriculture will send a field inspector out to see how much insecticide you need.