I’ve been seeing a very large number of crickets, katydids, and grasshoppers recently. I haven’t even been deliberately looking for them but I don’t have to, they’re just everywhere. I didn’t see anywhere near this many of them around this time last year. Is there something going on in my region ecologically that I haven’t heard about yet? Is everything normal and I’m seeing more than usual this year by coincidence? What’s happening here?
I just drove through Saskatchewan and Montana and you can see what happened to the front of my car. That is my headlight covered with the remains of Two-lined Grasshoppers. They were everywhere. At one point I was driving on a gravel road with a window cracked two inches and ended up with 30 grasshoppers of various instars inside the car. Just imagine how many there were if 30 randomly came through a 2 inch by 2 foot slit. It’s also a good summer for Ergot… could be related?
I can’t address your locale but I have read that many grasshoppers hatch in very hot dry conditions. In 2021, here in California, one area I visited must have had millions of grasshoppers. Each step I took on a trail flushed dozens of grasshoppers. I believe weather conditions may be something you could look at.
Grasshoppers and other orthopterans often experience large population explosions when conditions are favorable.
One thing that can affect grasshopper populations that I’ve read about is moisture levels. One of the biggest enemies of grasshoppers (specifically in reference of Dissosteira carolina, but i’m sure it applies to other species especially since I’ve witnessed large numbers of Melanoplus sp. that appeared to be killed by fungus) is fungal pathogens, which infect and kill them much more easily in wet conditions. So, in wet years many of them will die and in dry years they’ll be relatively free of fungus and their populations will increase.
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