Yard & Garden Report


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Grasshopper Outbreak

Grasshoppers will soon be attacking our gardens. Learn how to stay one hop ahead of them.

Grasshoppers will nibble on onion stalks and tomato fruits.
The hot, dry weather in recent weeks is leading to an outbreak of grasshoppers. The pests are congregating in brushy areas and will soon be attacking gardens.

The best time to control grasshoppers is when the insects are young. Focus initial sprays along the perimeter of the garden and in moist, brushy areas where they breed.

A few grasshoppers in the garden are not a big deal. For field crops, farmers do not profit when spraying grasshoppers until the pests reach a population of 21–40 per square yard along field margins and 8–14 in the field. That’s a lot of hoppers!

Recommended insecticides include carbaryl and pyrethroids such as permethrin and cyfluthrin. Use maximum rates. The addition of canola oil to sprays can improve control by making the treated foliage more attractive to grasshoppers.

Direct applications onto the vegetables may be needed as the season progresses. Lettuce, carrot, bean, corn, and onion are their favorite vegetables. Grasshoppers are less attracted to squash. In raised beds, aluminum window screens can be used to shield plants from the pests.

Only use insecticides when needed. Most insects in your yard are beneficial and they can help to control grasshoppers naturally. 

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University.

Cranshaw, W.S. and R. Hammon. 2013. Grasshopper control in gardens and small acreages.Colorado State University Extension.
Knodel, J.J. 2018. Grasshoppers on the move! Crop and Pest Report, August 16. NDSU Extension.

Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org; Olga Nohra.

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