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grasshoppers

 
mick mclaughlin
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Location: Augusta,Ks
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Any suggestions for hoppers? I mean besides eating them?

They are eating me out of house and home. The worst I have ever seen them.
 
                                
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You don't say where you are or what specifically the hoppers are eating. Better info=better help 
 
mick mclaughlin
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I'm sorry. I am in Kansas, and they are eating everything, but mainly what I would like to keep them off is my garden. They have eaten my early beans and are now eating on my tomato plants. I have late beans planted and doubt they will get out of the ground.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Poultry, especially turkeys, are excellent at catching grasshoppers.  Some people prefer guinea hens, but I think they are too noisy!    But I know of no immediate way of getting rid of them except to swat them yourself.  They are a problem for us in areas where the poultry don't go.  This is a bad grasshopper year for many folks.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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How many days do you suppose there'd be between ordering turkey poults from McMurray or similar, and those birds as effective insect control? Smaller ones would presumably be less destructive in the garden, and could explore smaller places.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I have a baby chicken that is attacking grasshoppers at 3 weeks of age.  Turkeys grow more slowly, so I would bet they could go after grasshoppers at maybe six weeks of age, but that's just a guess.
 
Brenda Groth
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only notice them when i mow out by the field..and they jump on me and the mower..
 
mick mclaughlin
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I have chickens, and there is about 1500 hoppers for every chicken.

really would like some feasible advice here. I have searched very hard for an organic way to take care of this problem, and as of yet  have not been able to find anything.
 
                                
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For the record, turkeys grow faster than chickens. Mine were fully feathered and could fly at 2 weeks.
Of course ordering poultry now that the hoppers are bad is probably not the best plan, but now that you know when they'll arrive (more or less) you might consider ordering chicks next year to take advantage of the free food.
 
mick mclaughlin
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The post immediately above yours says I have chickens.


Chickens don't dent these bugs. They are so bad I can not justify planting a garden next year, if it is similar.

Would really appreciate some real help on this problem!
 
Tyler Ludens
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rockguy wrote:
For the record, turkeys grow faster than chickens.


Mine didn't, but it might have been the variety, or possibly I wasn't feeding them properly! 
 
Tyler Ludens
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mick mclaughlin wrote:

Would really appreciate some real help on this problem!


Spray poison on everything? 

But seriously, next year might not be such a bad grasshopper year, they tend to come in cycles.  This is a particularly bad grasshopper year for many people.  You might try guinea fowl next year.

"In some areas of Australia we have so many grasshoppers that people can’t garden without the pest-destroying help of guinea fowl" - Bill Mollison

http://www.raiazome.com/Bill_Mollison--The_Plowboy_Interview

I don't recall where, but I read in some Mollison document that an oversupply of grasshoppers means you have an undersupply of ground birds.
 
                          
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Location: Bozeman, MT
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Mick, I have friends around here that do organics and swear by this stuff for killing grasshoppers. I have never had them so bad that diatomaceous earth didnt take care of it. Semaspore Grasshopper Control http://www.planetnatural.com/site/semaspore-grasshopper-bait.html .
 
mick mclaughlin
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Kathryn wrote:
Mick, I have friends around here that do organics and swear by this stuff for killing grasshoppers. I have never had them so bad that diatomaceous earth didnt take care of it. Semaspore Grasshopper Control http://www.planetnatural.com/site/semaspore-grasshopper-bait.html .


Thank you, KAthryn!

Looks like it might be too late this year, but at least I have hopes for next summer!
 
                                
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Real help? Row covers. Expensive but good if applied right.
 
Emil Spoerri
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Gosh, while diatomaceous earth may work, if you can sprinkle it directly onto the hoppers, it will be more work and less return than guineas or turkeys.

Also, perhaps planting a lot of what they really love, and perhaps they will gobble that down primarily and eat other things less? This will also help the birds find them!
 
Franklin Stone
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Supposedly, guineas can be raised in a garden and will eat primarily bugs, leaving your vegetables alone. I've never tried it. Our chickens, when they get into the garden, like to devour the vegetables, making them quite unsuitable for this purpose.

One idea that seems promising, but rather expensive, is to build a chicken run that surrounds the garden completely - that way, any bugs entering the garden have to pass through a chicken barrier. (Of course, some will just fly over, so I don't know how well it would work in reality.)

Cats love to eat grasshoppers, but that would be a heck of a lot of cats needed.

Lots of peoples around the world like to eat grasshoppers. I wonder, what is the best way to catch/gather them? Would you use a net? If you tried to fill a basket with them, wouldn't they just jump out? How do people who see them as a blessing go about harvesting them? (Perhaps the same techniques would work for getting rid of them?)
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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frankenstoen wrote:Cats love to eat grasshoppers, but that would be a heck of a lot of cats needed.


Maybe someone in town has the right sort of mental illness, and is struggling to pay for cat food?
 
                          
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You can always go fishing with them. I prefer live bait and have caught many a fish with grasshoppers.
 
John Rushton
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Location: Norman, OK
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Any reason to suspect you could turn your harvest this year into a harvest of grasshoppers?  For instance, would it  be worth your while to catch and sell them to a bait shop, or an exotic pet shop, or convince the local hippies they should pay a premium for your raw cacao covered grasshopper treats?
 
                                
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I wonder if they could be crushed and dehydrated for use as chicken feed later.
 
Travis Philp
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Aparently Bill Mollison has said that grasshoppers are attracted to the colour yellow. He's suggested putting a giant yellow ball in a pond, and having hopper eating fish there to devour the grasshoppers. Got a pond where you're at?

I wonder...since theres a colour that attracts grasshoppers, there might be a colour that deters them....

Doesn't geoff lawton say something like; if you have a grasshopper problem you have a duck deficiency.
 
Suzie Browning
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Location: Southwestern Ohio
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This article on grasshoppers, http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/grasshopper.html , lists a couple of biological controls not mentioned yet in this thread. 

I had a serious problem one year out of 12 with them, don't know why they were so bad that time, but it seems to me that it was very dry that year. When I was young, large grasshoppers were always along the road where it was hot and dry.  I wonder if spraying down your plants would move them out long enough to get row covers on them?

While you are searching for a solution, find some kids, put them to work with a butterfly net and put those bad boys in the freezer for the chickens this winter. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Suzie wrote:I had a serious problem one year out of 12 with them, don't know why they were so bad that time, but it seems to me that it was very dry that year.


Grasshoppers are very different when conditions favor social behavior, as opposed to when conditions favor solitary movement.

Sometimes they even change their morphology.
 
Suzie Browning
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Location: Southwestern Ohio
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Thanks Joel, for that link.  What I have been calling Locusts, are actually Cicadas, which I have many of this year.  It's been great entertainment when I can catch one and give it to the chickens. 

I did some more quick research and it sounds as if Locusts are what is eating Mick out of house and home since they are so bad for him this year.


 
                                
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Another "fun with cicadas" thing to do besides giving them to the chickens, is to put one in a quart jar. No lid required. It will spin around and around for hours. We call them "Jar flys".
 
Tyler Ludens
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Travis Philp wrote:


Doesn't Geoff Lawton say something like; if you have a grasshopper problem you have a duck deficiency.


That must be what I was trying to remember!

 
Wyatt Smith
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Grasshoppers can wipe out seedlings and sprouts.  We planted about 1200 row feet of carrots, the germination rate was high, but few of the carrot plants grew an inch before they were consumed by grasshoppers. 

Floating row covers are effective insect protection.  They simply work. 



They do wear out over time but don't biodegrade well.  They are an industrial input that cannot be produced on the farm.  Are they compatible with permaculture
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Mangudai wrote:Floating row covers are effective insect protection...They do wear out over time but don't biodegrade well.  They are an industrial input that cannot be produced on the farm.  Are they compatible with permaculture? 


I'd be interested to see a polymer scientist's thoughts on small-scale production of electrospun nonwoven fabric, out of rayon, polylactic acid, or other biomass-derived semi-synthetics.

IIRC, rayon would be more expensive, more UV resistant, faster to decompose, and potentially require some complicated handling of byproducts. Ultrafine rayon might not resist insect damage as well as slightly coarser fully-synthetic fibers, but I don't know.
 
                          
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Joel, what about a rayon made from bamboo? I have not invested in row covers simply because of the synthetics. but have recently been contemplating researching to see if someone has come up with some natural alternatives. I have been using bamboo for a number of other projects because of the uv factor and the anti-microbial factor. Bamboo might work well for this application.
 
                          
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I found a hemp gauze online, granted it is from a china distributor, but that means there are some options to using synthetic row cover fabric.

http://www.oursbiz.com/Company/160615/Hemp_Gauze_Hegu.aspx

Found an organic cotton version that even lists it for pest control. I know this is from the UK and cotton, but this could show an alternative for the row covers, though I would prefer a more durable hemp or bamboo.
http://www.greenfibres.com/product/90/6110/organic-cotton-gauze.html

I am also looking up hemp mosquito netting fabric, which I can find already made into mosquito nets, but would like it on the bolt. I am sure that this would be a no brainer if we could all grow and process hemp without any regulations in this country, instead of having to import so much of it.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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In that vein, maybe ramie would be worthwhile.

Industrial ramie is bad for the environment, because the fiber is so hard to ret from the bast.

The traditional method is to weave thin strips of bast into work clothes. This makes for extremely tough, rot-resistant work clothes, and every other sort of labor you do, especially washing silt out of the cloth, also works toward retting the fibers free of one another.

After a few years of use, the cloth can be taken apart and used to make things like fishnets.

It's lots of work to do everything traditionally, but I think mechanized operations for carding recycled fibers, spinning fine thread, and weaving gauze could be made sustainable.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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