How to get rid of Grasshoppers

grasshoppers caelifera how to get rid of

Grasshoppers are insects that belong to the suborder Caelifera of the order Orthoptera. They are voracious plant-eaters, being able to consume almost half of their body weight every day. Due to this, they are considered by many to be dangerous pests when it comes to cereals, vegetables, pastures, flowers, etc.; both adults and nymphs chew on the leaves and stems of plants, and, when a population of grasshoppers adopts a swarming behaviour (circumstances under which they are more commonly referred to as locusts), they can destroy various types of crops over a wide area.

grasshoppers caelifera how to get rid of

Usually, grasshopper populations fluctuate, with high populations present for 2-4 years, followed by lower or more moderate populations, before the cycle repeats itself. Though the most damage is obviously registered when populations are high, even small groups of grasshoppers can cause significant damage, becoming a true nuisance in your garden. When it comes to the range of problems you should expect, defoliation is the largest one; however, grasshoppers will also find other sources of food, such as fruit and ripening kernels of grain, bringing about even more damage. Problems tend to appear in the early summer and can persist all the way until winter settles in.
Since nymphs cannot move very far, they have to feed on the plants they find around them, preferring small and soft plants that they can easily digest, such as clover, grass or young sprouts. As they grow and turn into adults, locusts change their culinary habits, preferring high grains and herbs, being an uninvited guest in corn, wheat, barley, or alfalfa.

Signs of infestation

Grasshoppers lay their eggs at the end of the summer, buried in the soil in pods. These eggs lay in the soil through the winter, and hatch in early spring. As soon as they hatch, grasshopper nymphs immediately start to consume plant matter in that area, and as they grow, they begin to exhaust the food supply and start to move to new areas. The presence of grasshoppers is the clearest sign of infestation, but noticing eaten leaves is also a sign that your crops are under attack. Attempts to manage grasshopper populations are usually more successful if the area in question is small and relatively isolated, as it’s easier to apply controlling methods. Immature grasshoppers can’t move very far, because they don’t have wings, but winged adults can fly for miles in search of new food sources​. They make holes in the tissue of the plant as well as the leaves. You may also notice the grasshoppers’ dark droppings on the plant leaves. Fruits may also look as if they are not developing correctly.
As they are quite difficult to eliminate, combining more methods of pest control is important, as in case one doesn’t work fully, the other techniques will take care of the rest.

How to deal with infestation

A grasshopper infestation can be difficult to treat, but not hopelessly so. Start by placing protection around the plants that you have in your garden, using row covers or aluminium window screens. Keep in mind that fabric will not be effective, seeing as grasshoppers can easily chew right through it.
If you want to kill the grasshoppers, fill a bucket with a mixture of water and soap and walk through your garden, knocking the insects off the leaves and into the bucket, drowning them. An alternative would be to knock them off and then step on them, squishing them. Be sure to do this at dusk or at dawn, since these are the times when grasshoppers will be most active. This method, however, may not be entirely suited or effective if the infestation is particularly large.

Landscaping your yard and garden in such a way as to repel grasshoppers is another way of fighting them. Create an unattractive environment for them by planting flowers they do not like near your crops. You can use lilac, moss rose, verbena, salvia, sage, juniper or jasmine. Squash, tomatoes, and peas are also vegetables the grasshoppers dislike. Plant flowers, such as marigolds, calendula, sunflower, daisy, alyssum, or dill nearby to attract beneficial insects such as robber flies, which will attack grasshoppers.
Although with other insects it is normally better to mow your lawn regularly, with these pests it is better to leave a large patch of grass at the outskirts of your land. This way, the grasshoppers will have a food source and they won’t invade the garden anymore. It will work as a hedge that protects against them, while offering them a food source and shelter.
By tilling your land, you can also disrupt the life cycle of the grasshoppers and prevent further breeding. As they lay their eggs in late summer, to hatch in spring, you can use this method in early spring and destroy the egg pods they have laid.

Traps are also a way of dealing with grasshoppers.  You can bury in the garden several plastic bottles, with their upper part cut off. Fill them with 10 parts of water and one part molasses up to their half, and they will attract grasshoppers to them. Feeling the sweet smell, the insects will plunge in the water and drown. After catching a few, the traps will need to be cleaned and refreshed.

Natural predators

Next to weather, natural enemies are the grasshopper’s most important population control factor. In some localised areas, natural enemies may cause even more mortality than the weather. Some enemies attack when grasshoppers are still in the soil awaiting spring. Others attack nymph and adult stages. Bee flies, and blister beetles deposit their eggs in the soil near grasshopper eggs. When their larvae hatch, they locate the grasshopper egg pods and feed on them. Spiders and wasps and many species of birds feed on the nymphs and adults, while there are some parasites that either attack the eggs or the adult grasshopper and kill it from the inside.
Natural enemies do control localised grasshopper infestations and hasten the decline of grasshopper outbreaks, so if you have the possibility to attract such predators to your property, you can solve the issue without delay. The best way is to attract birds to your yard or keep poultry. Gulls, hawks, crows, meadowlarks, crowned larks, partridges and cranes are all predators of grasshoppers, and they are known for scratching up the egg cases and clearing up to 150 acres of egg pods.

Organic control

Through organic methods you can keep grasshoppers away from your plants. There are several ways of preventing their attack onto your plants, but the most common are by coating plant leaves with garlic spray, hot pepper spray, neem oil or other type of essential oils as well.
Ordinary all-purpose flour also does the trick, as by sprinkling it onto the foliage, the grasshoppers’ mouths get a gummed-up sensation and cannot eat anymore, or if they manage to swallow it, the get sick and die.

Although there are several natural insecticides available against grasshoppers, most have only a limited effect and need to be reapplied many times. And for those who want to use organic products in their garden without resorting to chemicals, this can be daunting, since eliminating locusts is not immediate, but takes time. However, the use of botanical and biological products to kill grasshoppers or locusts is an effective alternative and should be taken into account, especially if you do not face a large population of pests.
The most useful natural insecticides are neem based, as they actively kill grasshoppers, but make sure you apply it as soon as possible, as all pesticides become less effective as grasshoppers get older; plus, they’ve likely reproduced by the time you use the product. You can also use Kaolin clay, with mixed with water and sprayed onto the leaves, causes a coating that repels grasshoppers. You can do the same with Diatomaceous Earth. Either sprinkle it on the leaves, or mix it with water and spray it, and once the water evaporates, it will leave a film of diatomaceous earth on your plants, dehydrating the insects that come in contact with it.

Spraying concentrated insecticides for Grasshoppers control:

Concentrated insecticides are the most common used products in fighting insect infestations. They provide the safety that any insect coming into contact with the treated surfaces dies shortly.

Sprayers used for Grasshoppers control:

The equipment needed for a professional Pest Control Operator depends on the type of pest the treatment is made against, and if the treated surface is indoors or outdoors. Sprayers help in applying products meant to reach difficult places, as well as guaranteeing an economic control of the treatment application.

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      Tank Capacity:

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      Tank Capacity:

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      Type of Apparatus:

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    • 5 litres
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      Type of Apparatus:

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      Tank Capacity:

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      Type of Apparatus:

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      Tank Capacity:

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      Tank Capacity:

    • 6 litres
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      Tank Capacity:

    • 10 litres
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      Type of Apparatus:

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      Manufacturer:

    • Mesto

      Tank Capacity:

    • 10 litres
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      Type of Apparatus:

    • Sprayers Hand

      Manufacturer:

    • Solo

      Tank Capacity:

    • 1.25 litres
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    302 B Cleaner

    €22.05

      Type of Apparatus:

    • Sprayers Hand

      Manufacturer:

    • Solo

      Tank Capacity:

    • 2 litres
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    307 A Cleaner

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    • Solo

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    • 7 litres
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    307 B Cleaner

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Most of the times, though, a chemical solution will be the most effective, and we recommend that you employ it as soon as you notice the first signs of a grasshopper infestation, seeing as pesticides become less and less effective as the individuals get older. Furthermore, younger grasshoppers will be concentrated around the areas where they hatched, and the application of the product will thus be much easier. The older the grasshoppers get, the more difficult it becomes to control them. Usually, if you live at low altitudes, the best time to apply the treatment would be around May, whereas if you live at higher altitudes, the best time would be in early June. In terms of active ingredients, you should choose an insecticide that contains carbaryl or permethrin. Treat the entirety of your yard or garden, paying special attention to possible hatching areas, such as ditches, tall, grassy or weedy areas. Because grasshoppers travel so much, it would not be reasonable to expect immediate results; repeated applications are the key, and the treatment may even help with the control of other annoying species of insects.

Another chemical method that you can employ involves the use of baits that contain carbaryl, which will kill the grasshoppers once they feed on them. If you choose to do this, remember to always replace them after rain.
Once grasshoppers have reached adulthood, you could also apply insecticides to your plants. However, make sure you only do this with insecticides that are approved and are safe to be applied on plants.

Mist Blowers used for Grasshoppers control:

Mist blowers are also useful for treatment application, as they use a very low volume application rate per unit area / space, that guarantees economic control of pests.

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    SR 200

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      Type of Apparatus:

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    • Stihl

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    • 10 litres
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    SR 430

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    • Stihl

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    • 14 litres
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    • Mist Blowers

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    • Makita

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    • 15 litres
  • eu solo sprayer 451 - 5, small

    451

    €602.44

      Type of Apparatus:

    • Mist Blowers

      Manufacturer:

    • Solo

      Tank Capacity:

    • 13 litres
  • eu solo sprayer fogger master 452 01 - 1, small

    Master 452-01

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    • Solo

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    • 12 litres

No matter what control method you choose to employ, make sure that you also try to prevent infestation at all time.

– Leave the borders of your property unmowed, to provide enough food and shelter for the grasshoppers;
– Plant flowers that repel grasshoppers;
– Spray repellents onto plants, in order to make them less desirable for grasshoppers.

For more details regarding ways in which you can avoid having to deal with an infestation, you can check our related articles with instructions on how to ‘Prevent infestation with Grasshoppers’.

Got a question?

  1. Which drug do they use for spraying grasshoppers that eat up pumpkin leaves

    Etotu Raymond -
    Answer
    1. You should choose an insecticide that contains carbaryl or permethrin. It is important to treat the entirety of your garden, paying special attention to possible hatching areas, such as ditches, tall, grassy or weedy areas. Also, because grasshoppers travel so much you should repeat the applications.

      Nexles -
      Answer

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