Permaculture forum: Augh! grasshoppers!

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GeddyFlea
May 23, 2012 9:31 PM CST
Anyone have any ideas about what I could do to keep the grasshoppers from eating the leaves off of my Honeyberry, comfrey, autumn olive plants. I thought about locating a bird bath nearby. So far they haven't attacked my Asian pear trees.

Thanks guys

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hazelnut
May 24, 2012 9:55 AM CST
Argh! Is right. Here in the Southeast we have Eastern Lubbers--3 inch long grasshoppers that don't mind attaching to your clothing or even bare legs. The best way to deal with grasshoppers is to "know your enemy"--you have to learn their life cycle and watch for the larvae. By the time you see adult grasshoppers it may be too late, until you catch them at the nymph stage the next year. Sometimes you can sweep them up at the stage where they have just hatched. You can try to catch them with a butterfly net and dispatch them. Have a grasshopper party and supply Butterfly nets to the kids in the neighborhood!

Ive heard of torching the nests if you can identify them with a torch weeder (Red Dragon). Other than that look for areas that they favor in the neighborhood like weedy fields and get the owner to plant a crop less attractive to the grasshoppers.

Pesticides are ineffective. As I remember some universities are trying to develop bacterial or fungal controls, but the normal animal controls such as birds are not effective because the grasshoppers are poisonous.
They can be scary and they can do a lot of damage.

Also I would contact your county agricultural agent to see if there are any local programs. It may take community effort to get control of these hideous bugs. While we in Georgia and Alabama have gotten used to the huge grasshoppers, Ive read that invasions of other parts of the country like the Northwest coast have been predicted. Good luck.

http://jacksonville.com/lifestyles/home_and_garden/2009-05-1...

Here are some photos and links to more management strategies for the Easter Lubber.
http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/enpp/ento/lubber_grasshop...

Your grasshoppers may not be Eastern Lubbers or they may have a different behavior regieme. I would check with your local county Agriculture agent.

[Last edited by hazelnut - May 24, 2012 10:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
May 24, 2012 11:02 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Many people around here keep guineafowl specifically for grasshopper control. Apparently those birds love to eat grasshoppers.

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hazelnut
May 24, 2012 4:18 PM CST
I wonder of somehow they are immune to the poison--or perhaps not all grasshoppers are poisonous like the Eastern lubbers are.


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GeddyFlea
May 24, 2012 7:37 PM CST
thank you guys, I also thought about Guineas, but I'm not living on my property yet, so I don't think I can let the birds run free without me being there. I'm at the mercy of these grasshopppers until I can spend more time there. What about ducks? I'm hoping to have a pond dug in the future
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
May 25, 2012 7:28 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I wouldn't count on ducks (or chickens) to help you with the grasshopper problem. Guineas is the main solution for people in this part of Texas.

Good luck to you!

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hazelnut
May 25, 2012 8:10 AM CST
This article from Nebraska also suggests turkeys as well as some other natural controls.

http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicati...

the parasites may be available through your country agent or State agricultural university.

You could also check with other growers in that area and see what they do.

One problem with grasshoppers is that they will go away, and then you forget about what a nusiance they were and the conditions that favor them are allowed to proliferate -- then they are back worse than ever in a few years.


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GeddyFlea
May 25, 2012 11:22 AM CST
Yum! turkeys. Thank you for your suggestions guys. I seem to have good options to consider.

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hazelnut
May 25, 2012 12:29 PM CST
If you have kids, turkeys may or may not be a good idea. Tom turkeys love to chase kids.

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