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Grasshoppers! Seeking a natural solution  RSS feed

 
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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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
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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.
 
Luke Currier
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I don't remember the source, but you can use a piece of sheet metal, a tub, and a light at night to harvest grasshoppers. Once harvested they could be used as food, feed (pigs, chickens, fish, etc) or a compost additive.
 
Liz Hoxie
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Location: Ellisforde, WA
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Look around for a plant that is COVERED with grasshoppers but not eaten by them. For us it was spearmint. Using the aerial parts of that plant, make a tea, let it cool, then spray your plants with it. The grasshoppers left them alone.
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
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Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I ate lots of them in South West Mexico.  Salsa fried!  Yum!  Just pick the legs off, and chomp chomp chomp down they go.  Like popcorn shrimp!  SOME RECIPES
 
Gail Gardner
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Location: SE Oklahoma
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Jack Edmondson wrote:I am looking for a large scale natural solution to grasshoppers. 

Any other natural alternatives to knocking down the hoards?


For large scale farming operations, contact https://www.naturalorganicwarehouse.com/index.php?route=product/search&filter_name=grasshopper and ask them. They had a solution coming out back when I lived down that way and the grasshoppers lined the tops of every fence.

I am short on time, so I'm going to paste everything I found when trying to control them back then.

GARDEN CONTROL OF GRASSHOPPERS

First, cut the ends out of both ends of tin cans. Tie them to the fence all the way around the property. Then put a tablespoon or more of Nolo grasshopper bait in each can. Spray diatomaceous earth directly on the plants. Both have to be replenished after every rain and the bait whenever it runs out.

(In a garden, you can use a sifter / sieve with small holes to sprinkle plants with food grade diatomaceous earth.)

More tips in http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/pest-solver-guide-grasshoppers-crickets

Notes on Grasshopper Control

https://www.planetnatural.com/pest-problem-solver/lawn-pests/grasshopper-control/#.V-rbBtGr-9Q.facebook

Control

    Roto-till or cultivate crops in the spring to destroy overwintering eggs.
    Harvest-Guard row covers can be used to cover and protect small garden areas.
    For long-term grasshopper protection, apply organic Semaspore Bait (Nosema locustae) https://www.planetnatural.com/product/semaspore-grasshopper-control/ to hatching beds – field margins and other undisturbed grassy areas – when grasshoppers are young. Heavy infestations may require multiple applications.
    Azamax https://www.planetnatural.com/product/azamax-azadirachtin/ contains azadirachtin, the key insecticidal ingredient found in neem oil. This concentrated spray is approved for organic use and offers multiple modes of action, making it virtually impossible for pest resistance to develop. Best of all, it’s non-toxic to honey bees and many other beneficial insects.
    Spread EcoBran Bait https://www.planetnatural.com/product/ecobran-grasshopper-bait/ or apply botanical insecticides, such as organic pyrethrins https://www.planetnatural.com/product-category/natural-pest-control/natural-pesticides/, to areas where you are experiencing heavy grasshopper damage and require a quick-kill.


http://aolanswers.com/questions/flour-kill-grasshoppers-home-garden_149735519299825 If didn't show up, use this elsewhere

Yes, you can use non-rising flour to kill insects especially grasshoppers, but fossil shell flour which is a course ground Diatomaceous Earth works best. Sprinkle it wherever grasshoppers eat and it can kill them quickly. I use a really large strainer and a scoop like you would use to feed grain or dog food to powder every plant in my garden.

Stand near your plants, pour from the scoop into the strainer and shake sideways or up and down to powder your plants the way you would put powdered sugar lightly over a cake. I powder all the plants and then powder any grassy areas surrounding them to try to kill off the grasshoppers before they even get to the plants.

I also use Nolo grasshopper bait. I cut both ends out of food cans (like your soup or vegetables come in) and tie them with a string to the fence around the garden. Then take a tablespoon and spoon bait into each can. I have 14 cans around the garden.

Ideally you want these to be not right next to your plants because you want to entice grasshoppers heading for your garden away, and the ones already in it out. The cans protect the bait so more of it ends up in the grasshoppers and not soaking into the ground - especially if it rains.

The bait kills the grasshoppers eventually and then they become more bait to kill more grasshoppers. It is effective, but the fossil flour protects your plants until the bait and flour can kill them.

In spring 2013, I was paying $30 for a large bag (50 lbs?) of fossil flour and $54 for 5 lbs of Nolo bait at my local feed stores. You can to call around because organic method of pest control are still not widely known.

IMPORTANT: Only use FOOD GRADE fossil flour! It is save to consume and won't hurt your pets, you or your plants. Other fossil flours may be harvested from salt water and that would damage the plants and the soil in your garden or yard.

http://greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=003cS0


http://www.ghorganics.com/page12.html

Barriers

    Plant the herb horehound (Marrubium vulgare) which is known to repel grasshoppers.
    Grasshoppers do not like cilantro which is used by many organic gardeners as a barrier crop.
    Plant calendula as a barrier deterrent.
    Spray a heavy infusion of garlic oil as a repellent.
    Grasshoppers are attracted to monocultures and do not like nitrogen-fixing crops like peas and sweet clover.
    Row covers, like Reemay, or screens can be effectively used to keep them from your crops.


https://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Grasshopper-Control-Newsletter_vq3814.htm

 
Steve Mendez
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When I was a kid in Northern Utah in the 1960s large flocks of turkeys were herded like sheep on public land. I was told they reduced the grasshopper and Mormon cricket hordes that would periodically descend from the sagebrush hills onto the farmland.
One night the National Guard was out practicing with searchlights and a flock of turkeys panicked and stampeded into a fence corner and hundreds of them died.
Now the turkeys are raised in huge barns and poison bait is spread around in the path of the migrating grasshoppers and crickets.
 
Maureen Atsali
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My Muscovy ducks keep the grass hopper population to a minimum.  A lot quieter and easier to manage than guineas.
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I'd suggest turkeys instead of or (more preferably) in addition to the guineas.  Once they reach a certain size, they ought to be a fair bit less prone to predation than the guineas, and they'll eat more on a per-head basis.  You might also consider a small-framed chicken, like the Fayoumi.

On top of (or underneath?) that is considering the root cause.  My understanding is that grasshoppers thrive in areas of bare ground.  I once worked on a farm that had previously been fertilized and hayed nearly to death.  In the early stages of its recovery (being mob grazed with cattle), the grasshopper situation was as you describe.  It's been a while since I've been back there, but I believe the situation is much improved.  Anyway, the root cause of your hopping hoard probably isn't a guinea (or turkey, or chicken) deficiency, at least not in whole, but a ground cover problem.
 
Gail Gardner
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Location: SE Oklahoma
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Wes Hunter wrote:My understanding is that grasshoppers thrive in areas of bare ground.


That could explain why they are so horrendous during or just after a drought.
 
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