WILDLIFE

Got grasshoppers? USU provides tips to prevent plant damage

Jun 11, 2024, 3:00 PM

A giant grasshopper sits on a hand in Berlin, Germany....

BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 12: A giant grasshopper rests on the hand of a zookeeper during the annual animal inventory at Zoo Berlin zoo on December 12, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. The zoo conducts the once-a-year inventory over a period of several months, depending on the species, to assess such factors as the state of animal colonies, the presence of foreign species and the true number of species and their members. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

LOGAN, Utah — According to the Utah State University Extension, a surplus of grasshoppers comparable to last year’s is expected. 

A press release from USU said that grasshoppers feed on crops such as fruits and vegetables, as well as weeds and ornamental plants. As they consume plants, their jaws “wreak havoc,” on any part that is above the ground. 

In the past, grasshopper damage has caused farmers great economic losses, per USU. 

Protecting plants from grasshoppers

According to USU, grasshopper nymphs are currently emerging. Mid-spring is the best time to treat plants to prevent grasshopper damage. 

Grasshopper nymphs are likely to begin feeding on weedy areas such as fence lines and roadsides. USU advised monitoring gardens and farms, as they will migrate as weeds dry out. 

“The nymphal stage is the prime time for management, as they are less mobile and more susceptible to treatment,” read the press release. 

If you find grasshoppers in your garden, USU said that they can be removed by hand. It was recommended to remove them during the morning when it is cooler outside. After picking them up, place them in soapy water. 

Secondly, USU recommended barring grasshoppers from smaller gardens. Insect netting or similar products can be used. 

Finally, insecticides can be used to manage grasshoppers. They come concentrated in sprays, dusts, and baits. 

Popular bait products containing nosema locustae, a microsporidium fungus are currently in short supply.

For example, NoLo Bait contains the fungus. 

However, NoLo Bait, will not be available in 2024 due to a fire at the factory, the company’s website said. The statement cited “insurmountable production issues” following a fire at its manufacturing facility. 

USU said there are alternatives. Products with the active ingredients zeta-cypermethrin + bifenthrin, malathion, permethrin, and carbaryl, were all recommended. 

While grasshoppers have several natural predators, they are not usually enough to prevent or reduce damage, according to the press release. 

How do grasshopper populations grow? 

According to USU, most of the grasshopper species in Utah produce one generation each year. 

The insects spend the winter as eggs. Beneath the soil, they are unbothered by frigid air. Snowpack further insulates them, keeping the soil moist and cool. 

If spring brings warm, not-too-wet conditions, eggs can successfully hatch, revealing grasshopper nymphs. 

“Due to Utah’s mild winter and dry spring, growers should prepare for high numbers this season,” said USU’s Extension website. Infestations will not be the same in all areas. 

Related: Bugs, berries helped lost Utah man survive in the wilderness

 

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Got grasshoppers? USU provides tips to prevent plant damage