There’s a Whole Lot of Jumping Going on!

Got grasshoppers? During the last month there have been multiple reports of large populations of these pests covering people’s plants, especially in the Sacramento area.  These sporadic garden pests can have population booms, usually every 8 to 10 years in California, sometimes lasting 1 to 3 years.

The most destructive and widespread grasshopper species is known as the “devastating grasshopper.” Adults are light gray to tan with dark stripes on their legs, while the youngsters (called nymphs) are pale yellow, green, or tan. These eating machines can remove large sections of leaves and flowers, sometimes devouring entire plants. Garden damage is usually limited to a few weeks in early summer immediately after weeds dry up. However, during major outbreaks grasshoppers will feed on almost any green plant, and damage may occur over a considerably longer period.

Not fussy about their food, grasshoppers do prefer young green plants, especially lettuce, beans, corn, carrots, onions, and some annual flowers. Fortunately, some of our favorites like squash and tomatoes, aren’t high on their menu.

Grasshoppers are difficult to control because they can move quickly and frequently. Cover plants with a protective netting or metal screening to deter grasshoppers. Insecticides are not very effective and require frequent applications, so they are not recommended. Though products containing pyrethroids may provide some control, these products are toxic to bees, natural enemies, and aquatic life.  And forget the homemade “repellents” including oils and vinegars – they have not proven to be effective and are likely to damage the plant you are trying to protect.   Here are some additional ideas for managing these destructive pests

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top