Grasshopper

Melanoplus species

Grasshopper
Grasshopper [Credit: Bruce Ruston ]
Grasshopper [Credit: Bruce Ruston ]
Grasshopper
Grasshopper [Credit: Mattys Flicks ]
Grasshopper [Credit: Mattys Flicks ]


Host Plants:

On Crops: Beans, corn, cabbage family crops

Where Found:

Grasshoppers are found worldwide in temperate climates, but North America is especially well endowed, with over 900 species.

Description:

Grasshoppers are the only insects with long, strong rear legs that enable them to jump great distances, and many also can fly. Color varies with species, but most grasshoppers that damage gardens are green, tan or black.

Damage:

Grasshoppers chew large holes in leaves. When populations are high, they can devour garden plants.

Preventing Problems:

Keep grassy weeds controlled, as they are grasshoppers’ preferred host plants. Encourage predation by wild birds and domestic poultry. Provide a moist, grassy spot far from the garden as alternative habitat. In areas where grasshoppers are a major pest, inoculating the soil with Nosema locustae will help limit populations.

Managing Outbreaks:

Cover susceptible plants with row cover (garden fleece) or cones or covers made from window screening. Allow chickens to forage in the garden for a short period before dark.

Tips:

Guinea hens are considered the ultimate control for grasshopper-plagued gardens.

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