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Ur MONTANA HELENA August 1, 1954 A t o A > fci. Section 1- 4 0 pages Section 2—to follow—56 pages (Annual Livestock Section) / ■** mmm m&m ä § * L ' ■ 11:1 ■ y : ' «Hg r ■ y* f ' . : By RAY OZMON IGH in the mountains of Custer National Forest in Stillwater County a minor infestation of Mormon crickets was reported this summer. Numbering only 3 to 25 per square yards, the insects caused only neg ligible damage. No crops in the valley below were in any immediate danger. But when crops are harvested in the area in 1956, farmers and ranchers can thank the crop pest control division of the United States Department of Agriculture for its work in stamping out the infestation promptly this year. Under the direction of Ivar Twilde, supervisor for grasshopper and cricket control in Montana, an airplane bait spreading crew moved in and, in the early morning hours of one day, treated the 2,500 acre area involved. Twilde estimates that, uncontrolled, this infestation could have increased to a cricket population that by 1956 might affect a 10, 000-acre area in Stillwater County instead of the 2,500 acres affected this year. This baiting operation in Stillwater Coun ty was the last of several conducted in Mon tana this summer. More than 20,000 acres were baited, including 8,000 in Powell Coun ty, 11,000 in Big Horn County and the 2,500 in Stillwater County. In Powell County one rancher counted 52 crickets in one square foot. Crop damage was almost 100 per cent in a limited area. All of this control work was done with poisoned bait. Rolled wheat is used. Two ounces of aldrin in one gallon of diesel fuel H COVERS MONTANA AND NORTHERN WYOMING will treat 200 pounds, and in lightly infested areas only 5 to 10 pounds per acre are need ed. Up to 20 pounds per acre might be needed in heavy infestations. The bait does the job. But, even so, entomologists are not sat isfied. It's so much easier to treat grasshop pers, the Mormon cricket's close relative. If the minutest drop of aldrin in diesel oil just touches a grasshopper it makes a good grass hopper of him. He's dead in minutes. But the cricket just laughs at contact sprays. The poison affects him only if he eats it. Hence the bait. What makes the cricket so tough? Ento mologists know that it is a thin coat of a kind of wax he wears. The grasshopper doesn't have this coat. What is the nature of this coat that pro vides the cricket such effective protection? That's what entomologists want to find out. Right now a research project is under way at Montana State College under the direction of Dr. James Pepper, professor of zoology and entomology, to determine the chemical structure of this remarkable wax. Once this structure is known the hope is that a solvent can be found for the wax. With such a sol vent poison sprays could be made just a* lethal for crickets as they now are for grasshoppers. But more than that—if this wax is such an effective protection for crickets, why couldn't it be just as effective for other things—machinery, (Please turn to page 12) ^Vte M®!BM®Sf g J C 'hick$ x I Farmers Want His Scalp, Industry Wants His Coat The Mormon cricket is tough. That high gloss you see is due to a protective wax coating that makes him im mune to all contact poisons. Researchers are seeking ways to penetrate that coating for easier control. In the meantime effective control is achieved by baiting. About 20,000 acres of land were treated in Montana this summer to hold Mormon cricket in check. (USDA photo) I m || m p M m m m m |J S i. r \ This is the stage of growth of the crickets found ia the area of the Custer National Forest which was baited by USDA crews in July. Not yet fully mature the females had not yet laid their eggs, so treatment at that time was effective in checking further infes tation. After the eggs are laid it is too late. Upper insect in this photo is a male, lower is female. (MF-S photo) This is the first section of the Aug. 1 issue. Watch for the annual Beef Production Section to follow soon.