Grasshoppers, both young and old, injure crops in but one way, that is, by gnawing and devouring them wholesale, and where very numerous they have been known to consume almost every green thing in sight. Even the bark on the tender twigs of trees is eaten by these ravenous insects, which are known to gnaw the handles of agricultural tools, such as hoes and rakes, in order to secure the salt left upon them by the perspiring hands of the farmer.
My wife, Sue, and I just returned from an event we have been a part of for over five years — helping with the annual butterfly survey at Lava Beds National Monument in Northern California, just south of Klamath Falls. In fact, it was Sue who started the interest in keeping track of the butterflies of Lava Beds. We were regular visitors there when she obtained Monarch butterfly tags from the University of Toronto back in the early 90’s. Our kids were just the right age to start working with butterflies, and that long-legged eldest son of ours, Reuben, could outrun and net the fastest butterfly on the monument.
In the Old World two insects, called asparagus beetles, have been known as enemies of the asparagus since early times. In the year 1862 the common asparagus beetle was the occasion of considerable alarm on asparagus farms in Queens County, N.Y., where it threatened to destroy this, one of the most valuable crops grown on Long Island. Subsequent inquiry developed the fact that the species had begun its destructive work at Astoria, near New York City, in 1860, and it is now conceded that it was introduced in this locality about 1856.
There are links between insects and a healthy environment that are so vital to life as we know it, it should be taught in kindergarten so everyone learns the facts at an early age. In that light, you can thank an insect pollinator for one out of every three mouthfuls of food that you eat. That’s what makes spraying chemicals to kill insects in an apple orchard so deadly. Without insects to pollinate fruit crops you don’t get healthy fruit to eat.