So I have tried everything I have found to do that's natural, neem, hot pepper bug juice, d.e., molases traps, 2 bags of nolo bait, covering with screen and covering with grasshopper fabric. I have even locked my 25 chickens and 2 ducks in there all day and the next day they are just as bad if not worse than they were the day before. So I don't know what else I can try or do without chemicals. I don't want to use them but what other options can anyone think of to stop the grasshoppers? They have killed almost everything I planted this year and now they are going for the trees. Anything at all would be helpful at the moment. Would you resort to chemicals? If so what would you use?
That stinks sounds like you've tried most everything. It's always sad to see your plants get eaten. A ground hog got into my garden the other night and took out nearly half of it so I can relate.
If row covers and ducks/chickens are working it sounds like you need to start manually picking them off a few times each day. I will hand pick beetles off my grapes and roses then feed them to my birds.
You can also try drawing your birds right near the plants the hoppers are on. Once you have your birds around give the plant a shake hopefully knocking the grasshoppers right to the waiting birds. After a while your birds might start to make a bigger dent in the grasshopper population.
I have found turkeys to be great grasshopper hunters. If you can get your hands on a few turkeys let them go after the grasshoppers. Good luck with them. Hopefully you can get them under control.
The solution that the Aztecs used was to eat the grasshoppers. Pretty fun for kids. They're good with chile and lime, cooked. Quite crunchy. High in protein. Of course, they were probably quite a bit smarter than we are, because there is no record of them putting poison in their food.
Grasshoppers are migratory. No matter how many you pick off, others in the area will move in.
Try a shop vac in the morning for manual removal. Hoppers are slowest to react when they are cold. This approach will be much faster than removal by hand.
You can create a protective barrier with diatomaceous spray. Mix one cup of diatomaceous earth with a gallon of water and add two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses. Spray this on the plant leaves. It's an easy and low cost deterrent. It won't harm your chickens when they eat the dead hoppers. It won't stop the infestation, but it'll slow it some. It'll also increase the rate of hopper demise, which in turn will make your Nolo more effective.
Nolo and chickens are not synergistic. Nolo works when grasshoppers are infected and die. Other grasshoppers then eat the infected remains and become sick. If the chickens consume the remains first (likely), Nolo won't spread effectively.
If you are simply trying to keep the hoppers from killing your trees (meaning you won't get crops) then heat a big kettle of rhubarb and tomato leaves and let it simmer. Cool the resultant liquid and use it as a spray on the leaves. Rhubarb and tomato leaves are both insecticidal. Just be aware that they're poisonous to people too, so don't use them on anything you intend to pick for food (I suspect we're less concerned with gathering food than preventing a total demise of remaining plant life). The boiled leaves can be rubbed into the posts and on other stands the grasshoppers would be likely to occupy.
Kaolin clay is another option. Mix two cups of powdered Kaolin clay with a gallon of water and a tablespoon of mild soap like Dr. Bonners. Spray this on leaves and you'll create a repelling coating.
It would be easy to combine the Kaolin clay treatment with the diatomaceous earth treatment and the insecticidal spray from rhubarb and tomato leaves. I'd combine the first two recipes and use rhubarb and tomato leaf solution in place of water. Add enough liquid to facilitate easy spraying, and go to it. If it were me, this would be the approach I'd take.
My heart goes out to you. That infestation is dreadful. Still, I think there's a way to save the trees.
Dave Hunt - Sorry to hear about your ground hog problem, it really just sucks to have all the hard work go down the drain. For the last week or I have been doing the shaking thing and trying to get them to eat more of them, the ducks are so effective when I do this! I wanted turkeys this year but we never ended up getting any. I am going to see if I can find some to buy at a decent price locally. Thanks!
Wayne Fajkus - I didn't know about the storage temps but I bought the bags from the store and came home and used it directly, I was told its made in the same state as me so I would hope it can't be that it was a few bad bags. I am not really into fishing, but I do remember using grasshoppers as bait for it when we were kids! If I ever can get into the act of fishing or whatever the trot line is this would be a good use for the dang things.
Elle Sagenev - I do believe this is the most truthful thing I have ever read about chickens! I love having them but they sure don't do as much around the homestead as I would like! I gotta look for some turkeys! And more ducks!
John Saltevit - Until this election is over I will maintain that I will not need to eat bugs. Once the election is over and I know how the country is going to be for the next decade then I may just need to consider eating them. This was also my husbands solution for them. Nope not quite there yet!
Chris Wells - Thank you, I will try the DE spray in the morning, I don't have the kaolin clay but I will look for some next time I go to town. I have the most luck in the morning when I shake them off and mostly the drop to the ground and then the chickens and ducks will get them, any other time of the day I try and do that and they get maybe 2 or 3 out of everyone that falls, now it all makes sense! You are correct in thinking I am just trying to save the plants vs. worrying about a harvest. The trees are just some cottonwoods I dug up from a lady a few miles down the road, I live in the middle of nowhere with the closest tree being at least 2 miles away in any direction, I really want the trees to survive! Shade and habitats for birds would be amazing, apparently the grasshoppers don't think so. The only plants I have left in the garden are tomato's and one pumpkin and one pea. The grasshoppers are even destroying the tomato plants! Leaves and all, stripped bare. I will try the DE spray first thing in the morning. Thank you so much for your help!
i am sorry for the occurence.
I had one like that 2 years ago and i think the reasons are the same. Your farm is in the middle of desertification, no food anywhere else but in the plants in your farm.
If they are in numbers like they were in mine... you can try and pick them but 2 more will emerge.
The idea i had was " i have to plant trees and grasses on my neighbours land" but i didn't i just sold it and bought another somewhere else
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
posted 4 years ago
turkeys are guineas are my suggestion.
like Elle, we have found our (50+) chickens to not be nearly as effective as most say/assume they are.
our guineas, at6 weeks old, are out roaming our 5 acres and eating grasshoppers - our turkeys (~2.5 months old) also free range around the property and eat grasshoppers.
the chickens (a mix of hatchery chicks and home raised chicks) do go out and chase/eat grasshoppers, but they only do it in the evening it seems.
next year we plan to double the turkeys and guineas and cut back on the chickens.
the grasshoppers are eating a good portion of our alfalfa crop before we can get the animals in to graze it!
http://www.cloud9farms.com/ - Southern Colorado - Zone 5 (-19*f) - 5300ft elevation - 12in rainfall plus irrigation rights
Dairy cows, "hair" sheep, Kune Kune pigs, chickens, guineas and turkeys
10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown