Spider mite fight in Cass CountyHunter, ND (WDAY TV) -- You can add one more thing farmers are battling this Summer. Spider Mites. And now, they're relying on crop sprayers and pesticides to battle the pests.
Hunter, ND (WDAY TV) -- You can add one more thing farmers are battling this Summer. Spider Mites. And now, they're relying on crop sprayers and pesticides to battle the pests.
Aerial Applicator Cameron Wischer is constantly in the skies - trying to knock down the resilient Spider Mite population on fields near Grandin.
Cameron Wischer – Wischer Aviation: "It's tough, you need people who have experience to go out with Agronomists and help the growers."
Wischer says crop spraying can cost $12 to $15 an acre, and usually doesn't wipe out entire populations. Yet it's one necessary step.
Cameron Wischer: "There's concern. Crop reduction prices are so high right now they want to protect what they have."
That's the problem - crops can be hard to protect. The Microscopic Spider Mites can reproduce 70 times their population in one week.
Agronomists say areas near Hunter and Grandin are hit the worst.
Scott Murch - Agronomist: " They like hot and dry, so we're kind of the perfect spot for them, which is bad."
Farmers say fighting spider mites is not an easy battle. You have to consider the costs. It takes time and money to spray, and if you don't, the spider mites can take over the plant, costing you your crop.
Mark Backstrom – Farms Near Grandin: "You have to keep them below a certain level or you're giving up crop, and we're already giving up crop because of the drought."
Farmers say they have no choice.
Mark Backstrom: "Gotta try to keep at it, and save what we got out there. That's what we're doing."
Treating from the ground, up into the skies. Agronomists say it's the worst case of spider mites since 1988; the last time drought dealt a heavy blow on the region.
Agronomists say it's impossible to count the spider mites on each plant. On one leaf alone, there could be thousands of mites.