Rangeland News

Grasshopper Biocontrol Appears Safe to Non-Targets

Grasshoppers can dramatically reduce rangeland productivity in outbreak years. Alternatives to chemical control are desirable to conserve natural enemies of grasshoppers and protect sensitive rangeland. The fungus Beauveria bassiana can control grasshoppers. The effects of this fungus on non-target arthropods was evaluated in a large grasshopper management study near Amidon, North Dakota in 1993. The populations of a variety of predators, parasitoids, and pollinators were monitored. Abundance of flying insects increased in all plots following treatments. The abundance of ants, ground beetles, and spiders declined in all plots following treatments, but rebounded in later samples. The temporary decline in numbers of these ground-dwelling arthropods may have been due to heavy rain rather than fungus-infection. B. bassiana treatments did not appear to impact any of the non-target arthropod groups that were monitored in these field plots.

- Mark Brinkman and Billy Fuller, South Dakota State University

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