Grasshoppers, when they are adults, usually has a maximum length of 2 inches. While green is the most popular color, there are also some that are brown or yellow. From their physical features, the most noticeable are perhaps their long and strong legs, which provide them with the capacity to travel at great distances in search for their next target. They also have large head and eyes. Their body appears like a stick and they have wide shoulders.
Generally, they exist in two varieties. The first one is Tettigoniidae, also known as long-horned grasshoppers. They have a green body and long wings. The second variety is short-horned grasshoppers, which have short and heavy antennae.
As long as there is vegetation, grasshoppers will most likely survive. Whether in the garden or in the woodlands, grasshoppers can spread damage. For commercial growers, they can damage up to 60% of the available crop during the harvest season. They are more common in places where there is dry climate. They are common in stubble and weedy grain fields. You will find them on the top of the leaves.
Identifying Grasshopper’s Damage
Grasshoppers are general feeders, which means that they can eat almost any plant that they come in contact with. Some of the most common hosts include onions, carrots, corn, beans, lettuce, cotton, lentils, clover, canola, alfalfa, and winter wheat. Their population is also high in hayfields and pastures.
Below are some of the most common symptoms of grasshopper infestation:
- Among others, you have to look at the leaves to determine possible infestation. They will have holes in the middle or crooks on the edges, which is a result of chewing. This affects the nutrients that the plant gets and can be a reason for it to die before it even fully matures.
- On the leaves of the plant, you will also notice dark droppings from the grasshopper, which may appear like fecal matter.
- You also have to look at the fruits of the plant. If there are any abnormalities, this can be another sign that grasshoppers are present, although it is wrong to assume that the latter is the only problem. In most cases, like the leaves, grasshoppers can also chew the fruits.
- When the damage is severe, they can also lead to defoliation. One of the crops most susceptible to this is corn. Grasshoppers will start feeding on the leaves and silks. Before you even know it, only the barren stalks are retained.
Results of Infestation
For small gardens at home, the damages from grasshoppers will not be as devastating. The infestation is more drastic in commercial plantations. Because of the chewing parts in the mouth of this pest, they will cause visible damages to the crop. This negatively affects its aesthetics, and in the end, will make it unmarketable and no longer fit for consumption. In major outbreaks, they can be present for more than a year and will lead to significant financial losses amongst farmers. The severity of the damages, however, will be dependent on a number of factors, such as the effectiveness of the control measures and how healthy the crop is.
How to Get Rid of Grasshoppers
Natural and Organic Solutions
Looking for the best ways to get rid of grasshoppers naturally? Below are some of the solutions that might work:
- Among others, one of the most promising is encouraging the presence of natural predators, which will do most of the work for you. There is no need to manually pick grasshoppers. Chickens are amongst the best to have. With their heavy appetite, they will eat a lot of grasshoppers. Friendly birds and yellow jackets are also equally effective in getting rid of adult grasshoppers. On the other hand, to control them even before the eggs hatch, you can consider having parasitic flies and blister beetles.
- There are also natural sprays that you can easily make at the comfort of your own home. They can kill grasshoppers but will not affect beneficial insects. They will also not harm the environment in any way. One that you can make is garlic spray. A highic spray. a in any way. onich . presngst supme wherein the population of grasshoppers is at its highest. fereably, concentration is necessary to make it effective.
- You can also add other plants with natural properties that can repel grasshoppers. Some of the perfect examples of this are pot marigold and cilantro. They can act as barriers or protective coverings for plants that are prone to infestation of grasshoppers.
- Flour is another solution that is effective. All that you need to do is to dust the plants affected with grasshopper with flour. It will block their mouth, and hence, preventing eating. See to it that the flour does not contain salt so that it will not damage your plants.
- Growing tall grass is another easy solution to address the problem. With this, they will feed on the grass instead of the plants that you have in the garden. In some instances, however, you will need to take out weed on the surface as it often attracts grasshoppers.
In most instances, it is too late before you realize how damaging grasshoppers are. After their invasion, there is little that you can do to save the plants or crops. With this, if you are resorting into chemical control, make sure to do this early on. It is more of a preventive measure than an act to eliminate grasshoppers that are already present. If it is windy, avoid spraying chemicals as it can reach places that you should not treat. Amongst the different active ingredients, diflubenzuron is one of the most common, which causes the body of the grasshopper to turn hard, and eventually, will cause its death.
How to Prevent Grasshoppers
When it comes to the measures of prevention, cultural control is perhaps the most popular. With this, one promising solution is early seeding. Although this is not a guarantee that it will not be a target for grasshoppers, at the very least, the likelihood of infestation is at a minimum. Another solution is crop rotation, especially during a time wherein the population of grasshoppers is at its highest. Cultivating the soil or tillage is also helpful.