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BOISE -- Agriculture experts predict there will be an outbreak of grasshoppers in the state this year with some areas, including the Treasure Valley, reporting more of the insects than usual.

And that means they could be eating their way through our crops.

No one is really clear why there are so many grasshoppers right now. One theory is they're popping up in parts that haven't really been treated by insecticide before.

Another is grasshoppers are pests that show up in cycles and this could be one of those years.

Either way, the state wants to fight back.

Because of the hot temperatures we've recently had, grasshoppers are emerging from the soil, and eyeing the green crops to feed.

Mary Rohlfing says the insects are starting to show up on her Ada County farm.

From our own observations we're seeing a lot more of them. Right now they're kind of small, they're only an inch or so long. But next month is probably going to be bit of a challenge, said Rohlfing.

She says challenge because in the past, the grasshoppers have chewed up some of her garden.

You know maybe a 1 or 2 percent loss on leafy greens, lettuces, things like that. Spinach, Rohlfing said.

Because of the crop damage they cause, controlling grasshoppers is a priority for the state.

Agricultural workers have been busier than usual visiting property owners who complain of seeing too many of the insects.

Threats are being reported in several counties: from northern Idaho to the southeast, and now even in Ada and Elmore Counties.

Right now it s atypical for Elmore county. We have not had this many calls from Elmore for about 3 or 4 years. Ada county -- it's not typical because we're getting more calls this year south of the freeway in Ada county. We didn't expect that many calls this year, said Dick Lawson of the Idaho Department of Agriculture.

The state is now helping property owners in their fight by providing grasshopper bait.

For Mary Rohfling, that's not necessary.

She has ducks on her farm that love snacking on grasshoppers, and serve as a line of defense for the little critters lurking in the foothills.

However, not everyone considers the grasshopper a pest. The Bureau of Land Management says they can help keep the threat of wildfires down because they feed on the grass.

Several parts of the state experienced grasshopper outbreaks last year.

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