UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners
University of California
UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners

Weeds & Pests


Grasshoppers

grasshopper
If grasshoppers jump all around as you pass through the garden, they are probably chewing the foliage on your plants.  They prefer young green plants, but if they are hungry enough they will eat nearly anything and can completely defoliate plants.  If there are only a few grasshoppers, you can catch and destroy them by squashing them. Some are sufficiently self-confident, and therefore slow, that you can even cut them in half with your clippers if you’re fast enough. 
Read more about controlling grasshoppers.

In addition to management techniques recommended by UCCE, a relatively new, naturally occurring microbe called Nosema locustae can be used to infect and kill grasshoppers and some types of crickets. In spring and early summer the young are most vulnerable, and Nosema locustae may be the answer. Dissolve the spore in water, add it to a bran mixture (grasshoppers' favorite food) to form a bait; or you can order a commercially prepared NoLo bait on-line. Disperse the bait over the garden.

As grasshoppers feed on the Nosema-bran mixture, they become infected and slowly die. Surviving grasshoppers retain sufficient infection to reduce or inhibit reproduction. The infection is also transmitted when infected grasshoppers are eaten by healthy ones.  Note that this bait is not fast-acting but will, over time, control the grasshopper population.

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