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Grasshoppers: Defend Your Garden!

by jpovolny — last modified May 22, 2012 08:55 PM

The Pest

Grasshoppers pose a significant threat to your garden, since they live for 35 to 90 days as nymphs and for 60 to 90 days as adults, lay many pods in the soil containing anywhere from 8 to 30 eggs, and feed on a wide variety of plants. The insects favor grasses, lettuce, carrots, beans, sweet corn, and onions, but avoid tomato leaves, squash, and peas.


The Solutions:

Predators:

Some say that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself, but when it comes to getting rid of these pesky hoppers, passing the buck just might be the best solution. Many species of birds are natural predators to the grasshopper,  so attracting more birds to your garden by setting bird feeders can help put a stop to a grasshopper infestation, as can keeping chickens, guinea hens, or even turkeys! (However, if you keep poultry, make sure to cover garden areas to prevent destructive scratching by chickens.)

 

Neem Oil:

If keeping poultry is not an option, the wild bird population does not seem to be doing enough, or even if you'd just like to give nature an extra hand, try neem oil as a natural alternative to toxic chemicals! A neem oil solution which can stunt or fully halt grasshopper's growth and sterilize certain species can be made following this recipe:

1. Two quarts of warm water should be mixed with 1/2 a teaspoon of castile or another mild liquid soap.

2. While stirring, slowly add 3 teaspoons neem oil  to the mixture

3. Pour into a spray bottle and use to spray your plants and the garden's soil.

 

 

Traps:

Traps can serve as a quick way to bring down the number of grasshoppers already living in your garden. To make easy but effective grasshopper traps, follow these steps:

1. Fill a few glass jars halfway full of a 10 parts to 1 part mixture of water and molasses.

2. Dig holes in  your garden and insert glass jars. Grasshoppers, attracted to the molasses, will jump into the trap and be unable to jump back out.

 

These simple solutions can help keep your garden grasshopper and pesticide free!