Grasshoppers are one of the most notorious pests in the United States. They can consume up to one-half of their body weight in less than a day.
Adults and their young (Nymphs) cause damage by chewing on the stems and leaves of plants, often destroying entire crop fields in the western regions.
Adults are 1 to 2 inches in length and are brown, reddish-orange, or green. They have wings and large hind legs that allow them to jump long distances. Their antennae acts as a sensory, allowing them to feel, taste, and smell, while their strong jaws give them the ability to crush their food.
Their nymphs are similar to their parents in appearance except for their still-developing wings.
The female grasshopper will deposit her cluster of eggs in the late summer underground in the soil. The eggs hatch the following spring and the young nymphs begin their hunt for food nearby.
The young grasshoppers will consume to eat and grow until food becomes scarce and they are forced to migrate to other areas to satisfy their hunger.
The nymphs will continue to grow (molt) until they become adults. The molting process can last anywhere from 45 to 60 days. As an Adult, they continue to feed until the cold winter kills them.
Keeping grasshoppers out of your yard and garden entirely without using chemicals can sometimes be a challenge. Here are a few natural solutions that can help reduce infestations before they become a problem.
Because the females lay their eggs in the soil, tilling your garden early in the spring will destroy them.
If you have a small garden, placing row covers over your plants can help reduce the damage done by grasshoppers.
Finally, keeping your yard grass neat and trimmed will also help slow the migration of grasshoppers. Grasshoppers are leery when they think there is no food and predators can openly see them.