Return to the Oklahoma Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Grasshopper plague

Posted by macmex 6b (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 10, 13 at 10:25

Hey folks,

I've been kind of scarce on the forum lately. Our gardens have been under attack from a plague of grasshoppers. I've used grasshopper semaspore, pyrethrins and two organicly mixed dusts. But nothing I'm willing to put on them seems to phase them. I suspect the adjacent farmer sprayed something strong, as I'm noticing a lot fewer birds, which is one reason I won't "nuke'm."

I have more semaspore ordered. But what has worked best has been a $30 wet/dry shop vac I purchased at Lowes. I ran a long extension out to the largest garden and so far, have vacuumed up about 4 gallons of the pests.

Here's a picture of some of them in the vacuum. I have to stick them in the deep freeze in order to unload without them escaping.

George
Tahlequah, OK


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
more on Grasshopper plague

Here's a picture of what I do with them once they're dead or nearly dead from cold:


 o
Grasshopper plague crop loss

Here's what most of my plants now look like: The beans are completely gone, with exception of a very few in another garden. Carrots and chard are gone. Basil is almost gone. Squash is hanging in there, barely. Summer squash is gone. It never produced. About all that looks promising is one planting of Aji peppers and our tomatoes. Our corn is getting pretty tattered. But the grasshoppers very noticeably move from one thing to another. So we'll see.

One other observation: grasshoppers are VERY difficult to capture, even with a vacuum. I get up really early for work. So, when I have been able to do it, I have started vacuuming in the garden before the first light of day. It works best in the dark. I wear a headlamp. At this time the grasshoppers congregate on higher places, like on the garden fencing or corn. I can vacuum up large numbers in little time. But once the light begins to grow, they flee and it's not worth trying.

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

George- 1st I had to get a chuckle at the thought of vacuuming grasshoppers, but hey, if it works, it works! Besides, those look like happy chickens and turkeys! I can't believe the grasshopper populations these past few years. They are just out of control it seems. I am sorry most of your garden is a loss due to them. I understand not wanting to dwindle the bird population. I heard that the only time they are really able to be killed via sprays and what not is when they are less then an inch big. And that the best time to spray for them is fall or early spring.

My mom and step-dad live in SE Kansas and the grasshoppers took everything they had before they could harvest anything of eating size/quality. They had the tomato plants gone before they could get started, and my mom even said they ate the onions, the actual onions, not just the tops! I couldn't believe it!

I hope that the birds come back and start helping you out by eating them all!

Bre


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Sorry about your garden.
When I got outside to pull those tall weeds I found two 1 foot long garden snakes and I let them be. I new what they were after They were hanging out on top of the tall weeds eating grasshoppers.
When the weeds were all pulled my peppers were all ate up and I don't think they'll recover.
Last year something killed my peppers wile hardening them off this year the grasshoppers got them.
I still have some put back to put in pots tho. Good luck. Maybe they'll Spare some of your food.

Tree


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

George, It is odd that you've had so many bad grasshopper years back to back.

It has been several years since the population here has been as bad as it is there. You have my sympathy on the loss of your plants and their potential harvest. I think that our truly bad grasshopper year was 2009, which was when they left my tomato plants and bean plants in the Peter Rabbit Garden looking like the plants in your photos. That's when I bought and used EcoBran in the big garden in an effort to save it.

I like the way you're vacuuming them up and feeding them to the poultry. That sure can be time-consuming, though, and you don't have a lot of spare time as it is.

Today I saw black blister beetles in the front garden. I had to resist the urge to kill them. I hate the beetles, but they eat grasshopper eggs, so for the sake of next year's garden, I'll leave them alone and hope they find and eat a lot of grasshopper eggs this year.

It is getting so hot and so dry that I feel like the grasshopper and blister beetle populations are about to explode. I cannot say that about the spider mite population----it exploded and kicked into high gear about a month ago. Here in my part of OK, the grasshopper population ramps up quickly in July, remains pretty awful through at least the first half of August and then starts to taper off and return to more manageable levels.

Tree, I hate having snakes in the garden, but they do serve a useful purpose.

For anyone interested in making a bran bait to kill grasshoppers, I'm going to link a recipe. I have found this fairly effective, though new hoppers migrate in nonstop to take the place of the ones it kills.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: How To Make Your Own Grasshopper Bait


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

About the only thing I've found that works that I will use close to my garden is the Ecobran Dawn mentioned. I saw some very small hoppers about 3 weeks ago. Didn't see anymore till the last few days and now there are some 747's. They are big. Fortunately there isn't that many yet. We received .45 last evening. Hoping/praying we get some more today. If I see many more hoppers I will start using the Ecobran on the borders of the garden. A person can't eliminate them but if I can just lower the numbers some it helps.
George so far knock on wood the Wood's Mountain Crazy bean is looking good. I had good germination on all of the bean varities but two. One White Settler bush bean I had 40% and on some older Ruth Bible seed you sent me I had zero. All the rest was above 90%. The Old Timey Cornfield Pumpkin had 100% germination. I hope this year I can get some fruit set. I wish you luck in your effort to control the hoppers. Jay


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Two things are really hard with this situation.
1) We basically grow/raise our own food. So vegies may be scarce this winter.
2) I have a number of rare varieties which are desperately in need of being grown out and renewed. It looks like I've lost the season and perhaps some varieties. This is year #4 for disastrous gardens.

We have a number of Asian friends who have suggested that we eat grasshoppers. When I taught in Mexico, some of my Zapotec students actually taught us how to do this. I am toying with the idea. I know they are good. It's just the time element which holds me back. Besides, meat we are not lacking. It's vegetables we lack.

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Oh, George - I am so sorry! I've been discouraged with my tomato problems this year (3rd year in a row, but different each year) and often wondered what I would do if I truly had to be self-sustaining. I think I would perish (except that Katie's university/community garden is thriving, so I'd wander over there probably).
I'll be praying for provision for you in ways you may not be seeing right now,

Sharon


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

So sorry to hear it, George. Our neighbor baled the pasture today so we are expecting the hoppers to move into the garden. The vacuuming is a great idea. When all the kids were home, we use to offer a penny a hopper. They could easily make a couple dollars an evening. Fortunately we still have plenty of birds to help us.


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

They have eaten our onions to the ground, even some of the Egyptian onions. They defoliated sunflowers. But interestingly, they are slower to attack Jerusalem artichoke. They are also slow to defoliate Lambsquarters. After four years of drought and disaster I am becoming increasingly fond of lambsquarters, and of turnips. We always manage to get turnips in the fall.

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Just got home to quickly remove my drying onions from the fence where I'd hung them...and noticed a grasshopper had eaten the end of one of my Red Rockets.
That surprised me, but...then I read your post about them eating your onions - good grief!!

Sharon


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

George, I am sorry to hear about the grasshopper problem. If you have something important you want grown out and would like to send me some seed I will try to grow them and send the seed back to you, I may have a week longer growing season than you, and at this point I have fewer grasshoppers.

Let me know if I can help in any way.

Larry


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Larry, I just might send you a sample of bean seed for growing out. Will try to get time to go through things and I'll let you know. Thanks!

By the way, I got up at 2:30 this morning (almost an hour earlier than usual) and spent about 35 minutes vacuuming in the main garden. I PACKED that little wet/dry vac with grasshoppers. The corn and the fencing around the garden were literally covered with grasshoppers. I couldn't get to everything. So I opted to hit that which would fill my vacuum most quickly. The vacuum is now in our deep freeze. When I get home our poultry will get a treat.

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

I posted a couple of weeks ago re grasshoppers and feel sorry for your troubles. They ate all the green beans, but left the okra till just the last couple of days...when I picked this morning they were fighting me for the plants! They are steadily working on the sunflowers and all over the corn. They killed out a new perennial bed I made this spring, Now they are on new transplants of rose of sharon and my redbuds. They are working on summer squash and cucumbers. I haven't used anythig but seven in the flower bed. At first I thought we'd planted enough to share but they are obliviously overeating and have no sense of sharing portions! Guess I will wait for next year and hope for less next season. Good luck and if I wasn't so afraid of snakes I'd try the after dark vaccuming but our place is in a valley they call copperhead heaven. I don't go out after dark very much, lol.


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

George, If there's anything you want me to grow out for you for fall in order to save the seed and return it to you, just send it to me. If you need my address, e-mail me. Like Larry, I have a longer growing season in the fall with a first average frost shortly before Thanksgiving, and the grasshoppers here are not even close to the numbers you are seeing there.

I cannot believe you go out in the dark. All I have to do is flash the light of a flashlight randomly into the darkness and I see all kinds of eyes looking at me, and I turn and run back inside.

By the way, I have not necessarily found Semaspore effective on the larger instars. It works best for me when the hoppers are 1/4 to 1/2" long. It also doesn't seem to work well once the temperatures are staying higher than 90 degrees. I only use it, therefore, in April and May.

This morning I found more grasshoppers than usual in the new back garden area, and they were mostly eating okra plants. If they are still there tomorrow, I'll scatter some EcoBran on the okra foliage.

My front garden has had about 4 times as many wild birds in it daily as it normally does, and that is something I've been observing since April. I assume they have been eating grasshoppers and possibly cucumber beetles because I am not seeing many of either of those in the front garden, though there's plenty elsewhere on the property. Usually by now the cucumber beetles have spread disease to my cucumber plants and killed them, but this year the cucumber plants are still alive and still producing well. It is odd because we had oodles of cucumber beetles in the garden in April, but not since then.

Texasoiler2, You must be in a rural or semi-rural area?

I hate the grasshoppers.

When I lived in Fort Worth in an old, established neighborhood built in the 1940s, I maybe saw 1 grasshopper a day in the summer months, and clearly, it wasn't going to do enough harm for me to even worry about it. Then, we moved here during drought and I had hoppers eating everything, including fruit on the fruit trees, leaves and bark of the younger fruit trees, everything I planted, our fiberglass windowscreens and even the cotton throw rugs on the wraparound porch. It was horrifying, and nothing organic that I did worked, though I tried and I tried and I tried.

Semaspore, Nolo Bait and Grasshopper Attack all contain a microorganism that attack and kill grasshoppers. It is called Nosema locuste. In years when I use this organic control for grasshoppers, I invariably get better control than my ranching neighbors who use chemical controls like Dimlin. lUnfortunately, it works best only on small hoppers and only in coolish weather. I think this year, it would have worked through most of May since we had cooler than average weather, but I didn't use it because we didn't have that many grasshoppers at that time.. You cannot buy it in a large quantity and store it because, since the active ingredient is a living organism, it has a short shelf life. I usually buy 1 lb. at a time, but one year when the grasshoppers were really bad early in Spring, I drove to Marshal Grain company in Ft. Worth (over 80 miles, one way, to drive, but I was desperate) and bought a 5-lb. tub of the stuff. I used it all within a month. We still had huge numbers of grassshoppers, but our ranching neighbors had 10 to 20 times as many hoppers per acre as we had, something that they pointed out to me.

Usually, as soon as I see enough young grasshoppers hatching out in a large enough number to cause me concern, I order some Semaspore. I use it in the spring and it makes a big dent in their population. The main problem, though, with grasshoppers is that they are highly mobile and even if you could wipe out every single one of them on your property, more just fly in from adjacent areas all day every day all summer long.

We had grasshoppers in horrific numbers in our county in several years in the 2000s that I remember well, including 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. They were sort of bad in 2011, I thought, but then in July, I spent 3 days at a wildfire about 20 or 25 miles west of us at the very western edge of our county, and the hoppers were so much worse than they were at our house that it was just stunning. I am inclined to think that we had enough Nosema locuste established on our property in our local hopper population that it was keeping our grasshopper numbers lower than in areas that never had been treated with Nosema locuste. After the one time that I spread and used 5 lbs. of Nolo Bait, I didn't have bad grasshopper problems for 2 or 3 years.

For those of us in rural to semi-rural areas, especially in areas with thousands of acres of open rangeland around us, the grasshoppers will always be a problem. We just have to work steadily to combat them.

Sometimes when I am feeling really desperate about the grasshopper population, I order praying mantids. I don't like praying mantids in general because they eat everything, including each other and other beneficial insects, but they do eat grasshoppers so can be helpful in controlling them. It just is a terrible price to pay to have to lose a lot of your existing population of beneficial insects to the praying mantids, but sometimes getting rid of the grasshoppers is the top priority. At our house, we've hardly seen even a single praying mantis at all since the drought of 2011. It may have wiped out the local population. It certainly didn't wipe out the grasshopper population though.

Dawn


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Thank you Dawn. I may well take you up on the offer.

I have gotten used to doing chores by headlamp on account of having clock in at work at 6 AM. During the winter months I have to do chores, both morning and evening, by headlamp. Also, when I was a teen, I used to run a trapline, during winter months, all before day break.

Honestly, with the heat of day the way it is, I'm getting more and more fond of working by headlamp, while the sun is not up.

Well, I have semaspore in the mail. Will have to use it. We had small grasshoppers hopping around on warm days in January!

I am making a lot of observations through all this. For instance, my only surviving stand of beans is in a garden with trees and shrubs around it. I strongly suspect that birds find is more inviting and keep their numbers down more. But even that garden is at risk. There is much damage.

I find it amazing, how over time, I am becoming more "organic" in my mentality. I LOVE my predatory insects and it grieves me to think of "bombing them" while attempting to save my plants. I also recognize the importance of birds. Every time I see a sparrow, cardinal or blue bird I see an ally, a friend. I really don't want to risk hurting them. Until I can get the grasshoppers under control it's useless to plant anything. But I will keep mulching and working so that, perhaps, I can get something in for fall.

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

George a few months ago I watched a show about eating bugs.
It had to be PBS I don't have cable.
Any way it said the way we are treating the planet now in the future all the meat we will have left to eat will be bugs.
DH got really mad and cussed oh bull. I told him I'm way older than you and I could care less but your so healthy I think You'll see the day.
He got mad and went to bed. That man loves his pork.
He loves his burgers. I was a Vegan till my Dr. told me to start eating meat.
I could survive.
Tree


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Yikes! I guess i would eat a bug if you deep fried it, depending on the big.

Has anyone had a problem with the big lime green grasshoppers? Maybe some type of Japanese grasshopper?

Ive had an issue with the smaller ones in the past, the ones that will jump on you and bite you for no reason, hurts like the dickens and you can even see the little bite marks.

Ive only seen a few of those this year. I started calling them kamakazee (sp?) becuase if one landed on me it was suicide, i killed everyone i could find.

Im killing the big green ones too.

I wake up to piles of grasshopper poo all around my annuals every morning

One thing i am doing, and it could be coincidence, is when my cilantro starts to bolt, i pull the tops off all of it and sprinkle it all over and around my tomato plants and i am not having any grasshopper problems with my tomatos. Could be coincidence or perhaps i am on to something here. I just decided to do it one day because i noticed they wouldnt eat the cilantro.

Any thoughts anyone?? It seems to be working!


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

I went out tonight to look for bugs. I had seen a few large grasshoppers in the day, so I thought I would try the light trick tonight. I found no grasshoppers, 2 katydids and 3 wheel bugs. The wheel bugs were large, I expect they have been eating well.

I think bring in the birds may help, but I don't want to feed the coons, crows and other critters. The last time I tried bring in the birds, I seemed to bring in the hawks to help eat the birds. I have been thinking about maybe installing some type of bird bath under one of my trellises.

Larry


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Well, I have been bitten by some kind of grasshopper, though not this year. I don't remember what it looked like. I don't know why they sometimes don't attack certain plantings or crops. But I do know that they change their minds. Once they set their attention on a new planting in my garden, it's pretty much gone.

So far they have ignored my tomatoes, which is heartening. I'm trying to keep their numbers lower, so perhaps they don't suddenly decide to eat tomato plants.

Personally I think that shows saying that someday we won't have anything but insects to eat are probably more driven by a political agenda than by facts. I could, however, accept the premise that it would be a good and economical thing to consider. My Asian friends who have suggested eating grasshoppers are very well reasoned. What's more, their attitude isn't "Well, I guess you're being reduced to having to eat grasshoppers." It's more like: "Grasshoppers are delicious! Why don't you harvest them!" I find this kind of flexibility/ingenuity to be very commendable.

One of our NSU night custodians suggested that I box some up and sell them as fish bait down by the Illinois River. That's also using one's brain!

Yesterday I vacuumed about 4 gallons before work. I'm about to go out and do battle again.

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

George, You're welcome. I just sent you my snail mail address a few minutes ago. Please feel free to take me up on the offer. My garden remains relatively undamaged by the hoppers so far, and I can use floating row cover to keep the hoppers off the young seedlings until the hopper population peaks and begins to fall. Where I live, the peak population normally hits in mid-July to almost mid-August, and then declines rapidly so that the hoppers have almost no impact at all on my fall garden.

Some years we have seen hoppers out in January too. It makes me crazy because when they are out in that weather, it makes me fear we'll have a bad year. Generally I will order the semaspore earlier than usual if we start seeing grasshoppers out in the middle of winter.

What we really,really,really need is a very wet year like 2007, though we don't need the flooding. In 2007 we had the fewest grasshoppers we've ever seen here---hardly saw any at all.

I share your organic mentality. I just hate to do anything that hurts any of the wild critters that live on our land, and that's doubly true when they are beneficial in some way. Since it is so dry and ponds and creeks are really low and drying up, I go out with a water hose about an hour before sunset and fill up 3 shallow depressions in the land to make little watering holes for the wildlife. I can sit inside and look out and watch all kinds of birds, frogs, rabbits, possums, deer, dragonflies, etc., come to the watering holes. Some of my friends tease me about "encouraging the varmints" to stick around, but I truly feel a certain responsibility to the wildlife that inhabits the land we live on. If I can help them out by ensuring they have drinking water during dry spells, then I am going to do it. I feed them, deliberately, sometimes, and at other times I inadvertently feed them by putting something on the compost pile right on top in plain sight so they can find it and eat it. The last few years have been so hard on the birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, but for some reason it isn't as hard on all the insect pests.

Larry, We have had more wheelbugs this year than ever before., and normally I am fairly happy to see them. They made me mad this week by moving to the cucumber plants and sitting near the blossoms in the mornings waiting for bees. So, I moved the wheel bugs to the rat-tail radishes. The flowers of those plants are significantly higher than the foliage, so the bees ought to be safe even with the wheel bugs sitting on the leaves. I don't like it when predators mess with the bees.

Emma, I plant cilantro as a companion planting around the garden and it seems to attract beneficial insects when it flowers. My latest planting of cilantro just started flowering yesterday. Normally the grasshoppers don't eat the cilantro, but every now and then they do. They also don't eat papalo, which is a warm-season substitute for cilantro. Or, at least they haven't eaten it so far. I also haven't seen much grasshopper damage on basil this year, though some years they eat it a lot.

I have those big lime green grasshoppers here right now. They seem to prefer the citrus tree foliage to everything else we have growing here. There are many kinds of grasshoppers in OK. I'd say that I see 15 to 20 kinds, at least, every summer, but the major part of the population consists of 4 or 5 species. We have green ones, yellow ones, black ones, tan-colored ones, the flying ones with orange wings that look like butterfly wings, the ones with red legs, etc. We also have katykids and lots of locusts. It is so loud out there at night right now that you cannot even hear the coyotes howl.

I have been bitten by grasshoppers but not often. They often do jump on me and grab hold of a finger as if they are going to....what......eat the finger? Just hold on for a free ride around the garden? Who knows? When they jump on me, I try to knock them off to the ground quickly and step on them and squish them.

I am seeing more big grasshoppers flying in these last few days (our high temperatures the last three days have been 105, 107, and 104 so the fields have quickly dried up and turned brown) but nothing at all like George is seeing. In my area, they always migrate into our garden and yard as the surrounding range land dries up, which is exactly what is occurring right now.

If we get the rain that we are forecast to receive with the retrograding cold front the next few days, maybe the range land will green up and the grasshoppers will go back to it.

George, In the summer, I try to get outside to the garden shortly before sunset so I can work in the coolest part of the day, but I couldn't get up as early as you do.

Selling them for bait sounds like a cool idea, and would be one way to make lemonade out of lemons. I just cannot eat a grasshopper. One year in middle school, our Spanish teacher brought in boxes of chocolate-covered grasshoppers she had brought back from a vacation trip. She offered them to the class and encouraged everyone to eat one. Only one guy, who tended to be a class clown, took her up on the offer and he said it tasted pretty good. The rest of us just made faces and moaned and groaned and said we weren't going to eat insects. I don't think I could eat a grasshopper, even if it was chocolate-covered.

Dawn


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Thank you Dawn. Will get something in the mail on Monday. By the way, I can go out that early because I go to bed very early ;)

Here's another observation: These grasshoppers wiped out my summer squash, but they seem not to like the c. argyrosperma (White Cushaw) and c. moschata (Old Timey Cornfield Pumpkin). They sit on the plants and leave droppings all over them. But they only nibble a little.I'm watering these squash plants a bit more than usual, in hopes of getting some really rampant growth. While they're small they are more vulnerable.

The other day I set a lightly spraying hose nozzle under a White Cushaw plant while I did chores. Then, just before wrapping things up, I moved that spray nozzle under another hill of White Cushaw. I promptly forgot about it, not even seeing it in the morning when I did chores before daylight. Around mid morning our youngest daughter discovered it. There was a box turtle having a totally luxurious bath in the spray of that nozzle. She swears he was smiling!

I leave some weedy corners in gardens, so box turtles have a place to hide and shelter. Though they may take an occasional nibble out of a low hanging tomato, I consider them worth it, if nothing more than for the "pleasure factor."

This morning I was running a little late, when I went out to vacuum grasshoppers. I could see the eastern sky beginning to pale. As I walked over to the pasture gate, to get to the main garden, some animal rustled and crashed into the brush across the road from me. Instantly our dogs went in to investigate. I could tell, watching the glow of their eyes, that they were pursuing something, which moved relatively slowly. It remained hidden from my eyes in the brush. Finally, I too got in there and pushed some branches aside. I caught a glimpse of an armadillo. Wouldn't you know, this was one day I didn't carry an arm with me! So, I went back to the house and got my 22/410 Stevens model 24. By the time I got back out the dogs had lost interest. But I found the armadillo digging down where I had seen it last. I put two 22 shorts into it. And it started to flee. So, I popped it off with a 410 load. It was BIG! I try to kill armadillos because of the damage they do. Plus, before we got our livestock guardian dogs, they used to steal eggs and chicks.

After that I went out with the vacuum and still managed two full vacuum loads of grasshoppers. The shop vac says 2.5 gal capacity. But I figure that at least 1/2 gallon of that capacity is taken up by the inside mechanism and filter. I chilled them and fed them to the poultry, cutting my feed consumption by 75% for this morning.

I still can't say that I'm going to save the garden by doing this. Maybe I will. But the ones I capture seem to be replaced within 24 hours.

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

George,

Have you ever used Surround WP? It is said to be effective on grasshoppers. I bought some the last year that hoppers were really bad here, but by the time it arrived, all I had left was naked plant stems with no flowers or foliage, so I didn't use it .It still is sitting out there in the shed. I haven't used it yet, but the Dirt Doctor likes it, and anything I've ever tried that he suggested did, in fact, work well. I can send you some if you want to try it.

I'll link the Dirt Doctor's newsletter where he talks about it and grasshoppers.

Another thought: do you remember back in the 1960s and 1970s (or even further back) that organic gardeners often would put dead bugs in an old blender with water, blend them together and let the mixture sit for a while.....and then strain out the bugs....and spray it on the plants? They called it bug juice and the idea was that the smell of dead bugs (in your case, preferably dead grasshoppers of course) would repel other similar bugs. Lots of people swear by it. I haven't tried it because I am a big baby who gets grossed out by the thought of putting grasshoppers and water into a blender and mixing them up. I'm afraid I'd never be able to eat anything from a blender ever again. One question in my mind though involves the way grasshoppers will cannibalize dead grasshoppers, and we know that they do that. So, maybe in the case of grasshoppers, it might attract more of them instead of repelling them.

When I was a kid, lots of the old people (well, when I was a kid they seemed old to me but they probably were younger back then than I am now) sprinkled all-purpose (not self-rising) flour on either their plants or on the grasshoppers themselves. I did it once here and it seemed to have some effect, but I hate the way it made the plants look and I washed it off after a couple of days.

I just hate what the hoppers are doing to your garden. It is like a horror movie......The Attack of The Grasshoppers.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural Control of Grasshoppers


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

No, I hadn't thought of using Surround. Maybe for next year, I'll check into it.

Yes, I remember that remedy of blending up the offending insect and spraying the mixture on the plants to be protected. I've thought about it. But we don't have an extra blender and I would be in DEEP HOT WATER with the family if I used our Vitamix for such a thing! I always thought that by taking a good number of a given insect and blending them up to spray on the the plants was probably a crude manner to make a biological weapon. If even one or two of those insects was infected with something, that something might be spread throughout the resulting spray and infect the bugs which eat the sprayed plants. I was even contemplating what might happen if I blended grasshoppers and ADDED some semaspore to the mix. But... that's not going to happen, at least not now.

On the other hand, the numbers of marauding grasshoppers seem to be gradully decreasing. They're still likely to finish off my corn. But they are now leaving the okra alone. Sunday I only vacuumed up, maybe a gallon of them. This morning I couldn't get out there before work. But I did notice that there were no where as many lined up on the garden fencing.

Another observation: dragonflies are beginning to make their appearance. I bet they eat grasshoppers.I am really hoping they will make a difference.

Also, yesterday we received some reinforcements: one, maybe two of our ducks hatched ducklings. Within a few days they will be out hunting flies and other insects. They won't be in my garden. But they will be in the field, making a difference!

 photo photo_zps517afa78.jpg

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Oh George, I'd never use a VitaMix for that either. I kept all Chris' dorm room stuff (dorm fridge, Iced tea maker, blender, iron, etc.) from when he was in college so that I have some extra kitchen stuff to use for, let's say, off-label purposes.

I had wondered about whether you'd get diseases in the bug juice, especially if you let it sit for a few days and kind of ferment. I also like the idea of mixing in Semaspore with it. That could be a cool experiment to try the next time the grasshopper population is so high.

When I was younger....all the way from my childhood through at least the early 2000s, I noticed that grasshopper populations definitely cycled up and down. You know, you might have really high numbers for 2 or 3 years, but then they would cycle back down to pretty low numbers for several consecutive years. I am not so sure they are cycling down as much these last few years. They only seem to cycle from high to medium and never down to low any more. Maybe this is a result of our increasingly longer and more frequent bouts of drought.

I was worried about the dragonflies. I barely saw any here until after mid-June, and didn't see a sizable increase in their population until after July 4th. I assume their late arrival is due to the cold weather in April and May. Perhaps they do eat grasshoppers. I know they eat lots of other insects.

I also haven't seen very many bats or owls this year and wonder what has happened to them.

The ducklings are adorable. I think that all baby animals are cute, but there's nothing cuter than lambs, kids, chicks and ducklings.

We have a huge population of Mississippi kites this year. They always are around, but this year their population is huge, and I hope you have some there. They eat tons and tons of grasshoppers and locusts and are in and around our yard constantly, particularly near the garden areas. We let our chickens free-range all day and the kites don't bother them. I don't think the kites are big enough to take a regular-sized chicken but they might bother the banty chickens (though they have not so far) or chicks. The kites have a sort of annoying, squeaky sound that they make, but as long as they are eating grasshoppers, who cares what kind of noise they make?

Dawn


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

George, can you cover the good stuff and let the turkeys in the garden? The permaculture folks would say that you don't have too many grasshoppers, just a shortage of ground birds. I just can't imagine that many grasshoppers, nor enough time to vacuum them everyday.


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Carol, I tried that, and all they wanted was "OUT." They trampled my basil and sage, refusing to even look at the grasshoppers. But you are right. More birds would definitely help. If I had more shade in the garden I might try to house one of these duckling hatches in there.

Sunday AM I had a smaller "catch," than usual, with my vacuum. There were noticeably fewer grasshoppers. However, the numbers have simply dropped to "bad" from "catastrophic." I need to see much fewer before I dare plant more beans.

Yesterday and today I couldn't do any vacuuming. There were too many other things which had to be done. Plus, today, when I first got up, it was RAINING! I got my milking stuff ready and headed to the milking shed. Upon arrival, I found the door ajar (mind you it was still dark, being 4:00 AM). When I stuck my head in there I found a groundhog sitting on the tray of our milking stand, and eating goat ration! What an adrenaline rush! And, again, I had left my gun in the house. I need to carry it all the time! Anyway, I ended up getting a gun and shooting the groundhog. Now I'm sure that it wasn't grasshoppers alone which had been eating my Georgia Long Cowpea plants!

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Carol, I know the permaculture people would say that, but I wonder how many of them have ever experienced a Great Plains sort of grasshopper outbreak? I have found poultry does a great job with grasshoppers in general, but once they have eaten grasshoppers for weeks on end, they seem to get tired of them and start ignoring them. Even our guineas (and they say guineas can eat 1 to 2 lbs. of grasshoppers per day) would get to a point by late July where they wouldn't eat another single grasshopper. When huge hordes of them fly in from adjacent rangeland week after week (which I think is what keeps happening at George's place), the grasshoppers seem to get burnt out and just stop eating them. We don't have nearly as many grasshoppers as George does, but our chickens have quit eating them already this summer. They'd rather dig and scratch in the soil and mulch looking for something else.

George, Well, let's hope your groundhog doesn't have a family nearby. At least maybe that solves some of the mystery of what is devouring your garden.

I can carry a gun out to the garden for days and never need it, but it is almost guaranteed that on the day I don't take a gun out there, I'll wish I had. It astonishes me how often this exact scenario plays out.

I'm glad you're getting rain. We've had three drizzly, cloudy, misty days with highs in the 70s (though today's may go higher), and I haven't seen a grasshopper since the misty rain started falling. I'm sure they'll be back as soon as the weather heats up, but a break from them is good.

Dawn


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Well, I don't have to be armed to garden at my house, but Al thinks it would be a good idea at the farm. I don't have a garden there, but hope to be ready for one in the Spring. My DIL pulled into the carport after work one day and when she opened the car door she could hear a strange noise. She used her cell to call my son, who was already in the house. She told him that either his radiator was leaking or there was a snake under his truck. It was a timber rattlesnake. It was after they had a big 5 inch rain, and I think he was trying to stay dry.


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Still vacuuming between 2-3 gallons of grasshoppers a day. I'm concluding that they are moving in from adjacent pasture land as I keep killing them. The only good my efforts seem, is to slightly lower the pressure they exert on certain things in the garden. When they hit a certain density, it seems that spurs them into attacking different plants in the garden. For weeks now, they've been attacking my corn. But by vacuuming, I have kept them from totally eating it all. I doubt I'll get a corn crop. But while they're occupied with the corn, I am harvesting tomatoes and have one planting of Aji peppers they are pretty much ignoring. The sweet potatoes are growing faster than they are eating them, which is because I keep knocking their numbers down. I'm sure, if I did not do this, these other crops would also be lost.

George


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Carol, I hate those timber rattlers. They come out of the neighbor's woods to our south and cross through our yard, garden or front pasture to get to our woods north of the garden. Inevitably the cats, chickens and I encounter them far too often. They are scary-looking and the ones we have here are really big. However, I'll give them credit for being fairly passive. They'd rather run away from you than come at you aggressively, unlike most of the other venomous snakes we seem to run into a lot. We've had a lot more dogs and cats bitten by copperheads than by timber rattlers. Only Duke, our Rottweiler-mix, has been bitten by a timber rattler and we didn't think he'd survive it, but he did.

With all the rain hitting NE OK this week, y'all may see snakes on the move again.

George, They are doing the same thing here, but still not in numbers as high as you're seeing. I do see more and more every day, but often all I see them doing is flying through the pastures as I walk through. It isn't (yet) like they are clustering heavily in the garden and eating a whole lot.

I left the corn plants on the south side of the driveway standing after I harvested the ears, because the neighbor's pasture is directly adjacent to that area to its south so everything migrating in tends to hit that area first. I was hoping the corn plants would keep them distracted from crossing the driveway and hitting the big garden in front. So far, that has worked fairly well, although they've eaten everything else in that corn cage garden....all the winter squash plants, the cucumber plants (except for one that is clinging to live), the rat-tail radishes and all the gourd plants, except the birdhouse gourd plants. The big garden just across the driveway has considerably less damage even though it just sits maybe 10' away.

Out back, they continue to attack the new garden area, but about all they're eating is okra leaves and some holes in the winter squash leaves (not a lot) and some of the garden huckleberry and ground cherry leaves. They aren't bothering most of the flowers, the cukes, Armenian cukes, pole beans or watermelons.

I am seeing more and morehoppers every day, and a local news story said that the Texoma area is seeing huge numbers of them on both sides of the Red River, and specifically mentioned Grayson County, TX, which is to the E/SE sort of catty-corner from our part of our county. The folks they spoke to there were seeing about 10 hoppers per square yard. I am sure I am not seeing 10 per yard here, and I hope they aren't coming our way in those kinds of numbers.

I cannot believe how hard you have had to fight them this year. One thing I have noticed here, though, is that we don't have many blister beetles at all this year. I've barely seen any at all. I don't care for blister beetles as they can defoliate beans and cucumbers so incredibly fast, but at least they also eat the grasshopper eggs. We need for the blister beetles to show up and start eating grasshopper eggs soon or next year is likely to be a bad grasshopper year.

Leaf-footed bugs are here in great numbers too and I'm not happy about that, but since I don't like to go nuclear with chemical pesticides, there's not much I can do about them.
Maybe the next few days of rain will start knocking back the pest levels. Since their numbers seem to get worse the hotter and drier it gets, we can only hope that cooler, wetter weather hurts them somehow. Maybe whatever residual Nosema locuste on your property from the Semaspore will spread during the cool, rainy spells.


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

The pepper plants the hoppers got are now recovering. The plants aren't really getting any taller but are way bushier.
Now the hoppers have moved on to my Tromboncino, eating the leaves nearest the planted part and working there way out. Hope they don't kill my last surviving vine.
But so far no squash bugs(I'll go out there later and have them now).
Why can't the hoppers eat all the bird feeder planted sunflowers? They are also eating my cannas.
Sorry about everyone's bug problems maybe the rain will help.
Tree


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

I expect the rain will help me a little. The grass in the pasture should green up and grow a little to give them a larger feeding area. My garden plants will get a little boost from the rain, but I expect the hopper population will get a large boost erasing most of the gain.

Larry


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Well, I vacuumed grasshoppers about 5 days a week for about a month. Finally I just couldn't keep going, from lack of sleep. Fortunately, the grasshopper population began to decline. I think that the rains helped. Surely my predations helped, and natural predators helped.

In some cases I had to resort to special tactics. My neighbor, pictured below, set up a stand and helped kill some of the more ornery ones.

George
 photo photo-5.jpg


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

Lol lol lol. I wish we had guys willing to sit around in a grasshopper stand and shoot hoppers like they are willing to sit in a deer stand and shoot deer......

We're seeing significantly greater numbers daily and I'm just trying to keep them off the fall tomatoes and the fall green beans, including your Cooper Running Beans. Other than those plants, they can go ahead and eat what they want.

I do think the wild birds continue to help control them somewhat. Our chickens are venturing farther and farther from the house chasing down hoppers, but they cannot get too much out of the yard and into the garden because they then lose the predator protection they get from remaining underneath the trees and shrubs. More and more snakes are coming into the yard and garden. I hope they're hunting for grasshoppers to eat.....at least that would make their presence tolerable.

Dawn


 o
RE: Grasshopper plague

There are a couple of Road Runners that must be nesting behind my son's house. When they are out in the lawn chasing grasshoppers they look like they are square dancing.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here