Sunday, July 12, 2009

Grasshopper Problems?

If you don't already have problems with grasshoppers in your Utah yard, you likely will have a problem before the summer is done -- particularly if you live next to undeveloped land.

Grasshoppers come and go in seven- to 10-year cycles, said Larry Lewis, a spokesman for the Utah agriculture department. Grasshopper numbers are usually high for several years and then the cycle goes on the downswing. Right now, there are grasshoppers in different stages of development, but we have a lot of little ones just starting out.

Your options to control these pests?

If you choose chemical poisons, grasshoppers have to be sprayed before they develop their wings and a hard shell. You can have that done commercially or do it yourself.

For those preferring organic methods, there are several things you can do. Larry Sagers, host of the KSL Greenhouse and a USU Extension agent, says that grasshoppers don't like to lay eggs in disturbed soil. So, you might get some control next year by tilling the surface of any undeveloped areas.

You can also use NoLo Bait. NoLo Bait is wheat bran carrying a spore of Nosema locustae, which infects the grasshoppers when they eat the bait. This spore spreads through grasshopper populations, but it is not a quick fix. You probably won't see a lot of die-off fast. According to the experts, you don't want them to die quickly. You want them to become sluggish and stop feeding so other grasshoppers canibalize them and get the disease -- nasty things, aren't they? The following two links tell you how this bait works in a straight-forward manner:
I bought NoLo yesterday at IFA in Spanish Fork, and I applied considerably more of the bait than the minimum the package indicated. I want to get all the hoppers I can, and since this is not toxic to humans, it's safe. You'll note that there are more hoppers in certain areas of the yard, and that's where you'll want to put more bait, plus a border around your property to get incoming hoppers. More grasshoppers will come into your yard from the fields, guaranteed, but what you do this year affects what happens with next year's hatch.

You can purchase NoLo Bait at IFA in Spanish Fork. It costs about $15 for 1 pound, but 5 pounds are a bit over $30. So, you would be wise to go in with a neighbor or a few neighbors -- besides, if you handle your own hoppers, the neighbor's hoppers will just migrate into your yard. NoLo Bait has a very limited shelf life, so don't plan to buy a lot and save it. Pay attention to the expiration date, which will only be a few weeks away.

You could spray and/or use the bait and still loose your garden, but with the Nolo bait added in, you have a good chance of infecting next year's hatch with the disease (that is explained in the links above).

Chickens also like to eat grasshoppers -- or you could always pray for seagulls.....

1 comment:

Judy said...

Thanks, Rae Lee for checking this out. The hoppers are a big problem in our yard/garden.