I am sure most of you remember the challenges we have faced with grasshoppers the past couple of years and unfortunately there is a chance we can add this year to the list.
Grasshoppers thrive in hot, dry weather while wet, humid weather can set them back so depending on what happens this summer can impact the population. The key to grasshopper control is to control them through habitat management and control the nymphs or young immature grasshoppers that do not have wing buds. Young nymphs can be controlled in a landscape setting with products like Nolo Bait, Grasshopper Attack, or Semaspore. These are bran baits that are treated with a protozoan, Nosema locustae. This should begin in the spring when they are first starting to appear. Controlling vegetation just before or after egg hatching can help manage numbers, and then applying growth regulator products will stop the nymphs from reaching maturity. Once they are larger, they become more difficult to control, and most insecticides will only last a few days. Weed management is important and can reduce food sources for young nymphs, but if numbers are high, it can also move the grasshoppers into another area that they may not be targeting yet. To help protect your vegetable plants, you can consider floating row covers and treating the perimeter of the garden with insecticide. Last year I had reports of the grasshoppers in extreme numbers eventually eating through the row covers. Homeowners can look at products containing cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, permethrin, cyhalothrin or carbaryl as an active ingredient. Make sure and read the label carefully to make sure the site that you would like to treat is approved on the label. Producers with pastures or hayfields can look at products such as Prevathon, zeta-cypermethrin, lambda cyhalothrin, cyfluthrin, dimilin, carbaryl and malathion. Once again, read the label carefully to make sure the product you select can be used on the specific crops that you need to treat. It is difficult to estimate when the grasshoppers will slow down.
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