© 2024
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Grasshopper Squisher


Modern insecticides have stopped grasshoppers from being the nightmare they used to be, but many can remember the days when each step into a field sent hundreds of grasshoppers catapulting into the air.

In the 1880s, enterprising farmer living near Hope came up with way to deal with his hoppers. The Steele County Centennial book reports that Ole Sandsen was a talented blacksmith who "invented a grasshopper machine... It consisted of two rollers about 10 feet long, 8 inches thick. He set them on wheels, so they rolled against each other. Fastened below the rollers was a narrow apron of canvas. The whole body of the machine operated very close to the ground, pulled by two horses, each hitched close to the wheels. The driver walked behind the machine. Grasshoppers usually begin their destruction at the edge of the fields, so he had the children walk along the edge, scaring the grasshoppers into the path of the machine, which squashed them. So many of them were killed, that he had to stop periodically and scrape off the rollers with a hoe."