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Grasshoppers! Seeking a natural solution

 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 240
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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I am looking for a large scale natural solution to grasshoppers.  North Central Texas.  I watch the pasture all last summer of my new place.  It was a grasshopper factory.  I could walk 10 feet and flush out several dozen.  I am about to start planting and want to keep them under check.

In the permaculture perspective, I don't have a grasshopper problem.  I have a Guinea Fowl deficiency.  Any ideas on how many birds free ranging it will require to make a dent per acre? This is isolated property.  Closest neighbor is perhaps half a mile or more.  Very agricultural community.  No one is going to call the home owners association on me, so not worried about the noise. 

Any other natural alternatives to knocking down the hoards?
 
John Saltveit
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Posts: 2007
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The Aztecs had an organic solution. They ate them. They're actually pretty tasty.

Seriously, I am interested in the answers you're going to get.  Hawks may want to eat your guinea fowl or chickens.  Maybe dogs could be trained to protect your chickens.
John S
PDX OR
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 240
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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John Saltveit wrote:The Aztecs had an organic solution. They ate them. They're actually pretty tasty.


I would prefer to eat the fowl after fattening them up on grasshoppers.  They are better at chasing bugs through the pasture. 
 
Casie Becker
pollinator
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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There is an organic product called Nolo Bait which is a spreadable carrier of a grasshopper disease. The grasshopper answer to BT for caterpillars. It's just about the right time to obtain and spread some in our area. You're a little further north so you have more time to locate some. The best time to spread it is actually a little before you see it available in big box stores.

The good news is that we've had a little more winter weather this year than last. Even if you do nothing at all you will probably have a lower population this year. Not only will the grasshopper predators have had more time to reproduce after last years abundance, the freezing weather will have killed more of the grasshoppers.

I'm adding a link to one of the online sources. They've got a fairly complete product description explaining how it works, and how much work it requires of you.
http://www.arbico-organics.com/product/nolo-bait-grasshopper-control-nosema-locustae/pest-solver-guide-grasshoppers-crickets?gclid=Cj0KEQiAqdLDBRDD-b2sv6-i6MsBEiQAkT3wAklEMpOEr78ZUMLWIId0Rq7wjq9PXRn2bWGaEBAaJ-0aAp8P8P8HAQ
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 240
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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Casie,

Thank you for the link and suggestion.  I think you hit a home run with that.  Safe, easy to apply, inexpensive, and non-toxic.  I will definitely have to give that a try.  I very much appreciate the information.  Thank you.
 
John Saltveit
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I also heard they're pretty awesome for fish bait.
johN S
PDX OR
 
wayne fajkus
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Check the expiration date when you buy nolo. That's the main reason it's hard to find. Local feed stores are the best bet.

2 people running thru a field with a seine net Will catch dang near every grasshopper in the pathway. Their feet cling to the net.
 
Candy Johnson
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Currently we are on a farm/homestead in Colorado. Having just moved here we didn't have any input on the livestock that is here.  But I can tell you that they too had a horrid grasshopper problem and their solution was guinea fowl. As the person in charge of feeding and caring for the animals I can tell you that Guinea fowl are just that....FOWL!
They are absolutely entirely too noisy for any peaceful country setting. But that is just the beginning of the list of reasons to hate them.
They are impossible to contain in a coop at night and if you do manage to get some in not all of them will follow.  They are extremely difficult to keep on your own property.  I have witnessed this flock of originally 30 birds stopping traffic on our very rural road. They have no concept of property lines and good neighbor policies.  Luckily our fellow rural residents are happy go lucky otherwise I can see these beginning a war of neighbors with their difficult behaviors. And on a happier note( for me) they apparently are quite tasty to our local owl population.  We seem to be losing a couple every week or so. I'd never purchase these creatures for my own homestead. Any alternative to to guineas would be my first choice.
 
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