Grasshoppers!

elvisJuly 23, 2012

Grasshoppers are much more numerous this summer, eating their way thru the flowerbeds. Anyone else seeing an inordinate amount of grasshoppers this year, and if you are, any suggestions for a way to get rid of them, short of turning the chickens loose on 'em?

I'm hearing that a lot of rain followed by warm weather can aid in increasing grasshopper populations, but since lots of rain is not the case this summer, that doesn't fit...

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david52_gw

Try nolo bait.

But you need to put it out early in the season, and have all your neighbors put it out early as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:25PM
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elvis

Dang! That's the stuff I used years ago (couldn't remember what it was)--and it worked. Thanks~~

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:41PM
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esh_ga

Turkeys love to eat grasshoppers - one of their favorite foods.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:54PM
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elvis

Turkeys. Prehistoric-looking feet. Probably be hell on the garden, too, but good suggestion (?).

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 10:17PM
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lynn_1965

No grasshoppers, but a lot of slugs. I don't mean to go OT, but... I think that I am growing more slugs than vegies this year. Our warmest day this year has been today... 74 degrees. We have tried beer in cups, Slugo, (doesn't work). This is the second day in a row we haven't had drizzle or rain. I wish we would have a little summer just for our garden. Last year we had about 7 days of temps. over 75 degrees. This year so far, about 6 days of 72-75. If you go east about 15 miles it is about 10-15 degrees warmer.

I didn't mean to change the OP. I don't see grasshoppers here on the coast.

Lynn

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 10:36PM
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vgkg(Z-7)

No grasshopper problem here in Va. In fact, the usually abundant insect pests (squash bugs, cuke beetles, Japanese beetles, corn ear worms) are few, very few thankfully. Just a few stink bugs and 4 legged critters are bothersome now. Was fearing that the mild winter would boost pest numbers but perhaps the pest predators over wintered even better?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:22PM
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demifloyd(8)

We have a national grasshopper problem, for sure !

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:24PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

Great bluegill and crappie bait. :-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:31PM
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elvis

Lynn, try sprinkling sand liberally around the plants you wish to protect. They won't cross the sand, as it rips them up.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:34PM
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elvis

That's for sure, Bill. And it's a great excuse to walk down to the dock and go fishin', except the beans and cukes and Swiss chard and raspberries are coming on strong right now, along with the grasshoppers, and I can't seem to tear myself away. Got to make sure summer doesn't slip away on me again without taking time for fishing instead of talking ;-D

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:10AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

You send me your grasshoppers ( I have not seen one yet) and I'll send you my deer.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 6:53AM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

Elvis-- every once in a while you gotta stop and smell the lily pads. :-)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:58AM
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duluthinbloomz4

I've seen a few grasshoppers, but the robins are very adept in getting them. I'd never watched robins stalk and strike - grasshoppers didn't stand a chance!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:34AM
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rob333

I knew I was good at something, but I aint coming all that way to stalk your grasshoppers elvis!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:40AM
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david52_gw

We've been having really high grass hopper populations for several years around here, with some drier places having real problems, the sort of infestations that eat everything, including the lawn and leaves off the trees - the 10 per sq foot kind when clouds of the things go flying every time you walk around. There was one area where the farmers got together and bought that Nolo bait by the pallet, and were able to get it under control.

At my place, I've a very dry patch west of my property, and that gets absolutely hammered by the grass hoppers. I keep my property so wet with irrigation that it just doesn't seem to be much of an issue. I see a few of them now and again, and the robins do a job on them as well, but its nothing like what my neighbors put up with.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:49AM
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adoptedbyhounds

You're on to something, elvis!

FTA: "Across the country, as a result of record heat, pests from grasshoppers to crickets and ants to bees are arriving earlier and in greater numbers than usual, entomologists at HomeTeam Pest Defense say."

Here is a link that might be useful: Bugs love the heat!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:03AM
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silversword(9A)

I'm more of an ant than a grasshopper myself. I think grasshoppers are democrats anyway, give it all away, play play play but when it comes time for winter they haven't saved. Why should I give them some of what I worked all spring and summer and fall to gather and hoard?

Here is a link that might be useful: Aesop

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 1:24PM
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chase_gw

Why did I know this was going to happen as soon as I read the OP? Starting with Demi's comment which I thought almost got lost in the fun.....but it was inevitable.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 1:29PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Ducks-Khaki Campbell ducks for choice. They love all bugs plus slugs are their favorite food on earth. They do not pull up garden plants or grass. Low maintenance if you build them a secure pen-with a wire roof and a nice small insulated house for winter nights-the very best egg layers-make sure you dont get any males and you wont have dozens of babies. My advice to anyone with insect problems.
Sand is not a deterent for slugs-nor is copper-I have copper kettle drums that I planted lilies in hoping it would help but no it did not. A slug can crawl over a razorblade with out damage.
For Deer-clear fishing line strung at different levels around your beds-the deer cant see it-I have decorative posts planted where I have no tree or bush to attach to. This works if the deer arent starving. You can take it down once the deer are trained to expect it-it spooks them since they cant see what they are hitting. But as I said if they are starving they will take the chance.
I say these things as a person in the land of slugs and deer.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 2:12PM
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silversword(9A)

Ack, let them eat grasshopper pie.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:49PM
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kingturtle(Zone 7 GA)

We had them bad here a few years ago. Picked everyone's garden clean. They eventually ran out of green food and started eating each other.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 4:11PM
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labrea_gw

Wow just like the people KT!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 4:27PM
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david52_gw

Thats the trick with the Nolo bait. It kills some of them, and then the others eat the dead ones, spreading the toxin.

I may be disremembering, was it here we were discussing the locusts during the Dust Bowl, and how they've all but disappeared because their breeding grounds are in the higher mountain grass valleys, which are all now turned into hay meadows, destroying their preferred breeding habitat?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Whatever you do, don't use poison, as they kill birds that eat the bugs.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 6:34PM
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citywoman2012

elvis the second I saw your post I remembered.

Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water. I hear the birds.
Master Po: Do you hear your heartbeat?
Caine: No
Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?
Caine: Old Man, how is it that you hear these things?

Po: Young Man, how is it that you can not?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:07PM
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elvis

Ah, will you walk with me, grasshopper?

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the grasshopper's; he takes the lead
In summer luxury he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun,
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
Keats:On the Grasshopper and Cricket.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:51PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

I may be disremembering, was it here we were discussing the locusts during the Dust Bowl, and how they've all but disappeared because their breeding grounds are in the higher mountain grass valleys, which are all now turned into hay meadows, destroying their preferred breeding habitat?

Funny, I thought I read it was the destruction of their breeding grounds during the California gold rush.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:53PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

I don't think that I've ever seen the large grasshopper of my childhood in my Venice garden.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:00PM
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bluebird88

Citywoman, that is an interesting conversation between master Po & Caine. But Elvis, when I saw the title of your post, I remembered the bedtime store fable of the grasshoppers and the ants, in which the grasshoppers were such lazy bums lol.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:47PM
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elvis

Blue, they ARE lazy, and big fat pigs, too. Nancy, I'm not being a smartass here, but I'm laughing really hard (stupid, really)--don't you think the grasshopper seemed really big in your childhood garden because you were were so very small? ;-D

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:57PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

When I was little, I thought my grandmother had cathedral ceilings.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:23PM
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citywoman2012

HG..I am picturing you looking waaaaaaaaay up.
If you had lived in the south...they could have been
cathedral.
Some folks lived in barns and raised grasshoppers.
Or so they say...:)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:53PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

don't you think the grasshopper seemed really big in your childhood garden because you were were so very small?

No, because they were so large that I could see them in flight.

I haven't seen that since those long ago summers.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 12:01AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I see the large ones once in a wild on the farm but in small numbers...a favorite food of kestrels. I saw m first crickets last week.

OK, elvis?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:14AM
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rob333

I've seen large and small ones here. Many times. Haven't seen large ones in a long long while. And so many the first year we moved here (from California), you couldn't walk through the backyard without a million of them jumping ahead of you. It was very interesting to me, that, at no other time, in the past few decades, to have seen that phenomenon again. We left an incredibly severe drought in California when we came to Tennessee, so maybe it was another of those hot and dry years?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:51AM
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david52_gw

from wiki:

The Rocky Mountain locust (Melanoplus spretus) was the locust species that ranged through almost the entire western half of the United States (and some western portions of Canada) until the end of the 19th century. Sightings often placed their swarms in numbers far larger than any other species of locust, with one famed sighting having been estimated at 198,000 square miles (513,000 km) in size (greater than the area of California), weighing 27.5 million tons, and consisting of some 12.5 trillion insects - the greatest concentration of animals ever recorded, according to The Guinness Book of Records.

But less than 30 years later, the species was apparently extinct, with the last recorded sighting of a live specimen in 1902 in southern Canada. And because no one expected such a ubiquitous creature to become extinct, very few samples were ever collected (though a few preserved remains have been found in Grasshopper Glacier, Montana). Though grasshoppers still cause significant crop damage today, their populations do not even approach the densities of true locusts. Had the Rocky Mountain locust continued to survive, North American agriculture would likely have had to adapt to its presence (North America is the only continent without a major locust species outside of Antarctica).

The last major swarms of Rocky Mountain locust were between 1873 and 1877, when the locust caused $200 million in crop damage in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and other states. The cause of their extinction was probably the plowing and irrigation by settlers that disrupted the natural life cycle of the insects in the very small areas where they lived in between swarms.[2] Reports from this era suggest that farmers killed over 100 egg cases per square inch while plowing, harrowing or flooding.[3]

I read elsewhere that these main reservoirs / initial breeding grounds were higher up in the mountains, and the winds would blow them out into the plains. So the flooding from irrigation and the disruption from the California gold rush of all those higher elevation streams/meadows/ecosystems would fit.

In Mali, aside from the civil war, the Islamic wackos taking over the north, the drought, etc, there are warnings out now of a major outbreak of locusts. I drove through a swarm once, on a paved road. You couldn't see out the wind shield because it was covered with the things, and when I hit the brakes, I was sliding on them like it was ice.

At the link, a quick 6 second clip of driving through locusts in Mali

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:53AM
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duluthinbloomz4

Nancy, I remember those large ones from Wisconsin (they could really whirr when they buzzed by you). Saw them frequently in dry sandy spots where nothing much other than sand burrs grew. Anyone remember trying to get the sand burrs out of your socks or keds laces?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:57AM
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demifloyd(8)

Yep.

Had totally forgotten about that.

Took forever, the dried ones hurt.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 10:10AM
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rob333

Sand burrs. Wow, I remember them from the coast, but have never seen them inland. So they are other places too? Interesting.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 10:47AM
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elvis

I never thought about grasshoppers as being big or small, as I'm hearing about here. These are around 2" long, and some have butterfly-like wings that look like mourning cloaks. We do have a lot of sandy droughty soils, as described by David & Duluth, and the grasshoppers seems more prevalent where it's dry, sandy, and sunny.

" Anyone remember trying to get the sand burrs out of your socks or keds laces?"

Yes! And it's still an issue, especially with giant Labradoodles. Whatever you do, don't let your rhubarb go to seed--it produces the most awful large round (they look like sea mines) spikey burrs.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:18PM
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