Grasshoppers are flying insects of the order Orthoptera and class Insecta. They are herbivores and are usually seen in the fall, with a few appearing in the summer. During mating, male grasshoppers deposit sperm into the female’s vagina. This sperm finds its way to the egg through channels called microcycles.
Grasshoppers don’t usually bite, but they have strong jaws used for defense. There is no venom in the bite so it is not considered a dangerous insect. The bites should be cleaned up and treated with calamine or cortisone lotion.
Types of grasshoppers
- Long-horned grasshopper: Has antennae as long as the body.
- Short-horned grasshopper: Has antennae less than half the length of its body. Short-horned locusts cause great damage to crops when they migrate. They forage for food, devouring almost every tree in their path.
8 ways to get rid of Grasshoppers
Because they fly, they are also very difficult to control. The best way to control locust infestation is to prevent population growth. A number of natural solutions can be used and should be tested before using chemical drugs.
Many insectivorous birds are locust predators. Other animals also eat grasshoppers, such as mantis insects, small snakes, and toads. These natural predators should be encouraged to eliminate locust infestations.
Tilt the garden soil mid to late summer to remove areas where females lay eggs. These eggs overwinter in the soil and hatch in the spring. Till the soil again in late fall and early spring to destroy the laid eggs.
Eliminate weeds even in areas without orchards to reduce the amount of food for pupae. Good weeding practices will help reduce locust populations.
Covering vulnerable plant species
Cover vulnerable plants with cheesecloth to protect them from being eaten by locusts. This method will protect plants from incoming insects. But may need to be used in combination with other methods of getting rid of locusts.
Mix two cups of garlic with 10 cups of water, boil the mixture and leave overnight. Then, mix one part of this solution with 3 parts of water in a spray bottle. This spray will deter grasshoppers and other feeding insects.
Chickens can eat large amounts of grasshoppers, so let them roam the garden. Other poultry species, such as ducks and geese, also eat grasshoppers.
Among the locust control measures are Nosema locustae and Beauveria bassiana. The fungus affects the digestive process of grasshoppers. Azadirachtin found in neem oil and organic pyrethrins is effective against grasshoppers.
Chemical baits and drugs can be used to control locusts. However, baits and sprays need to be applied to the locust growth stages. Concentrate on spawning sites, as control decreases as they develop.
Carbaryl is an effective but highly toxic locust repellent against beneficial insects. Baits containing carbaryl are safer than sprays. When using chemicals to kill locusts, focus should be on young grasshoppers and breeding sites.