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The Plague of Locusts is Back

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on June 4, 2011

grasshopper on sunflower stalkWhen I walk outside to get the mail, the grass seethes and moves as small grasshoppers jump out of the way.  It is a lot like the parting of the Red Sea.  Of course, when this happens, the first question everyone has is how to get rid of the little buggers.

Two things about grasshoppers make them hard to get rid of.  They are very mobile so when you kill the ones on your place, more move in.  Second, they have a pretty tough exoskeleton so you have to swat them pretty hard to knock them out.  Just kidding, any 2X4 will do the job.

Seriously, it is tough to kill them.  Nolo™ bait seems to work as well as anything to knock them back.  It is a bait sprayed with Paranosema (Nosema) locustae spores.  These infect the grasshopper when it eats the bait.  Gradually, the spores kill the pest.  It works best on small grasshoppers because they are easier to kill.  Even older grasshoppers will die, and they are less prone to feed and reproduce while the fungus is attacking them.  Nolo™ bait is considered an organic pesticide and may be used in organic gardens.

Nolo™ bait is not a panacea, however.  It takes time to work.  That is time the grasshoppers are eating your stuff.  While it does stick around to infect new grasshoppers, it needs to be reapplied after rain because the bait part gets nasty and the grasshoppers won’t eat it.

Nolo™ bait is not labeled for use in vegetable gardens.  It should be applied in bait stations in an adjacent part of the yard.  This draws the grasshoppers from your garden as a bonus because they are busy eating the Nolo™ bait instead of your plants.  You will have to keep the bait stations full so that any new grasshoppers find them and eat the bait instead of your plants.

If you have to kill the grasshoppers right now, you can use Sevin™ dust.  Make sure you follow the directions and do not use it on anything it is not labeled for.  The problem with using a broad spectrum pesticide like Sevin™ dust is that it kills the beneficial insects as well as the bad ones.  Also, it doesn’t have much of a residual effect so you have to keep applying it.

Grasshoppers are certainly a plague this year.  Good luck killing them.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Reece July 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

Yeah, grasshoppers get pretty out of control in our yard sometimes. Thanks for sharing about the organic pesticide. I hadn’t heard of Nolo before. I hate using pesticide at all, but grasshoppers can be a real nuisance sometimes.
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