'There are just too many': Neighbours in a northern Ontario town battle grasshopper infestation
NORTH BAY -- When Nicole Jenner moved to Field, Ont. last year, she never imagined she would be battling a massive grasshopper infestation.
"They're growing and eating everything in sight," said Jenner.
"I've got a lot of flowers and I'm spraying, but that doesn't seem to help at all except keep them away."
Jenner is just one of a handful of neighbours in the Town of Field who are dealing with these robust bugs.
The winged insects have destroyed yards, chomping away at any kind of plant life they can get their tiny mouths on.
It all started a couple of weeks ago. Jenner recalls seeing a whole bunch of young grasshoppers sprout up in her yard.
She's tried everything to get rid of them, but the pesky bugs aren't backing down.
"I hope they're not here next year," said Jenner.
"There are just too many and you can't do anything about it."
Grasshoppers are particularly tough insects. Experts say it's very difficult to eradicate them. The numbers in a group can reach upwards into the millions because females lay dozens of eggs at one time.
"You can control them in a limited fashion, but there's really not much you can do," said Science North Staff Scientist Dan Chaput.
Jenner's neighbour, Martha Dumouchelle, owns a farm and has been living in the town for over 20 years. She says she's never seen a grasshopper infestation before. She's trying to get a handle on her own batch of bugs.
"We're worried about our gardens of course," said Dumouchelle.
"I went with my tractor in the back field the other morning and, oh my God, you have to keep your mouth shut."
Scientists predict that because of last winter's heavy snowfall mixed with somewhat milder temperatures, most of the grasshopper eggs survived.
"They're cold-blooded animals," said Chaput.
"So, when they can get a lot of heat, they can stay active and feed more and then there's a larger success in the reproduction and the hatching of the eggs."
Fortunately for Jenner and Dumouchelle, their battle with the grasshoppers will only last for the rest of the season, but depending on the weather this upcoming winter, a long-term fight against the insect could be on the horizon.