How to Control and Get Rid of Grasshoppers
Are grasshoppers bugging you? A garden expert provides advice for how to get rid of grasshoppers. Plus, learn which birds eat grasshoppers.
Tips to Get Rid of Grasshoppers
“How do I get rid of an abundance of grasshoppers in my garden?” asks Marge Berger of Necedah, Wisconsin.
Melinda Myers says, “Mobile grasshoppers are difficult to control. They lay their eggs in relatively dry, undisturbed sites and remain in this stage over winter. As they hatch, they move into gardens and fields where they feed on plants. Very dry winters and springs, as well as cold wet weather, reduce grasshopper populations.
But the insecticides labeled for the job also kill other insects, both beneficial and harmful ones. Semaspore bait is an organic control option. The active ingredient, Nosema locustae, is a naturally occurring single-cell protozoan that kills developing grasshoppers as well as mole, Mormon and field crickets. Apply around the garden you are trying to protect, following the instructions on the label, and sprinkle in and around the area for control. Young grasshoppers eat the bait and eventually die.”
Grasshopper Garden Damage
The Purdue University Extension Department of Entomology reports that grasshoppers eat “round to ragged holes” in plant leaves, including grasses and weeds, as well as agricultural and vegetable crops. The damage seems to be worst during periods of drought.
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Do Birds Eat Grasshoppers?
Your favorite insect-eating birds may help you keep grasshoppers in check. Gray catbirds, Northern mockingbirds, Western tanagers, indigo buntings, red-headed woodpeckers, blue grosbeaks and many other species love to eat protein-packed grasshoppers. Red-shouldered hawks, killdeer and American robins may also snack on these meaty bugs.
Make your backyard bird-friendly with a fresh water source, native plants and nesting sites to create a natural solution to your grasshopper problem.
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This group of insects is more diverse than you may think. More than 600 species of grasshoppers are native to North America alone.
Next, learn all about katydids and crickets.