Monday, August 13, 2012

Controlling Grasshoppers in the Garden

The central great plains have had extreme heat and drought this summer.  As a result many gardens have noted that they plants, trees and ornamental shrubs are suffering.  While the lack of water has been departmental to our vegetation we also have had to deal with a large number of brown grasshoppers.  

My home resides directly next to a large wildflower meadow, vast pastures and woods.   This is a natural habitat for young nymph grasshoppers.  

In late spring-early summer these grasshoppers quickly devastated the meadow and the pasture before they moved into my yard.  At present we cannot walk across our yard without grasshopper jumping past us or onto us.   If you open a car door, grasshoppers will hop inside.  

What attracts the grasshopper?
Warm and dry conditions are an ideal habitat for the grasshopper.  In my area we had a mild winter and a warm early spring followed by extreme heat and drought. Had we had a cold winter and a cool spring much of the grasshopper population would have not survived.  

What type of Damage is caused from Grasshopper Infestation
Grasshoppers are herbivores and will feed off of many garden plants.  Some grasshoppers will devour pastures and grasses including ornamental grass. Thirty pounds of grasshoppers can consume your lawn and garden within a day.  That is 10 grasshoppers per a square yard.

Pest Control for Grasshoppers
  1. The best method for getting rid of grasshoppers is to work your garden soil with a tiller in early spring.  Tilling will disturb the nymph eggs.  This method will cut down on grasshopper populations.
  2. Another way to get rid of grasshopper is to clean up the vegetation in late winter. For the lawn use a thatching rake to remove all dead grass, for garden remove weeds, leaves and debris. 
  3. Treat with insecticide in the late winter or very early spring.  I recommend spraying with pyrethins which is formulated with Chrysanthemums or dusting with Diatomaceous Earth food grade a natural insecticide.  Either of these insecticides will get rid of aphids, beetles, webworms, grasshoppers, fleas, ticks, spiders and many other pests.
  4. Get rid of grasshoppers by attracting wildlife to your yard; birds, cats, lizards, groundhogs and other rodents eat grasshoppers.   Release your cats into your garden and they will hunt grasshoppers.  Grasshoppers are high in protein and both cats and dogs eat them.
Learn more about Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade by viewing this video:

Community Grasshopper Pest Control
Communicate with your neighbors in treatment options and make sure everyone treats their yard and pastures with insecticide this will prevent a repeat infestation of grasshoppers.  One treatment of insecticide may not be enough to get rid of grasshoppers.  Take note of the activity in your yard and garden and address the grasshopper infestation if need be by reapplying insecticide.

Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects
Attract insects that feed off the grasshoppers.  Grow marigolds, sunflower, daisy and dill herb in areas throughout your yard.   These plants will attract robber flies.  The flies are a natural way to get rid of grasshoppers.

  • Grasshoppers are a common insect throughout the United States. This insect is renowned for its large appetite.
  • Pray for a cool and wet spring.  This is a natural way to starve the young nymph grasshoppers.  
  • Brown grasshoppers make good bait for fishing.
  • Limited quantities of grasshoppers are good for the ecosystem; infestation of hundreds of grasshoppers will cause serious damage.  If you have a few grasshopper and want to get rid of them repel them from your yard with plants.
  • If you do not act fast to control the grasshopper infestation then your yard, garden will be damaged from this foraging insect.
  • Use food grade Diatomaceous Earth only, if the product is safe for pets then it is okay to use on your lawn or garden, as it will kill the grasshopper but will not harm your pets, children or other wildlife.

 Sgolis recommends:

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