Grasshoppers are found all over the world with more than 11,000 different species known to man. In some Asian cultures, the grasshopper symbolizes wealth, good luck, longevity, and good health. In other countries, they may be considered an edible delicacy. However, in America, we typically think of them as invasive pests.
What do grasshoppers look like?
Adult grasshoppers are typically 1 to 7 centimeters in length, depending on the species. They have two pairs of wings and two antennae. Additionally, they have long legs which help them jump 20 times their body length.
Grasshoppers are usually green and brown in color. Their camouflage color helps them protect themselves from predators. However, some species of grasshoppers can startle predators by flashing vibrant-colored wings.
What are the unique characteristics of grasshoppers?
Grasshoppers are known for their jumping abilities, but most people aren’t aware they can fly, too! Grasshoppers use their legs to propel them into the air, then use their wings to take flight. Another thing that makes grasshoppers unique is their ears which are located on the underside of their abdomen.
Grasshoppers thrive in warm dry weather, specifically in the summer. During droughts, grasshopper populations tend to increase. Like humans, they are active during the day and rest during the night.
What are the habits of grasshoppers?
Grasshoppers are herbivorous insects, which means they primarily feed on plants, vegetables, and other greenery. Additionally, grasshoppers make “music” by stridulating, which is the act of rubbing their hind legs against their forewings.
Grasshoppers are also known to “spit” at potential threats as a defense mechanism. This spit is nicknamed ‘tobacco juice’ because it is brown in color. Though the spit is not poisonous, it can certainly startle a predator.
What are the risks associated with grasshoppers?
Grasshoppers are usually seen as more of an annoyance than a danger, but they actually do pose risks. When they swarm in a large group, they can destroy crops over wide areas which can cause famine or other devastating effects. In the U.S. alone, grasshoppers cause over $1.5 billion dollars worth of damage to crops. This could mean bad news for your garden as well. Since grasshoppers are herbivores, there’s nothing stopping them from snacking on your landscape.
If voracious grasshoppers have invaded your garden, it can feel like your plants are being damaged and consumed everywhere you look. Luckily, there are several natural ways to bring your garden back to life and protect your plants from further harm. Here are some of our favorite home remedies:
- Dust Your Plants With Flour - this method is a quick and convenient way to get rid of grasshoppers destroying your plants. Flour causes grasshoppers to starve by gumming their mouths and preventing them from being able to eat. Be sure to use all-purpose flour for the best results and simply sprinkle a thin layer over any affected plants.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - as a simple pantry item with so many beneficial uses, it’s no surprise that apple cider vinegar is also a great solution for fighting off grasshoppers. We recommend placing disposable cups or open freezer bags filled halfway with vinegar and placing them throughout your garden beds. Grasshoppers are immediately drawn to the solution and drown in the vinegar.
- Introduce Natural Predators - one of the best ways to tackle an overactive grasshopper population for the long-term is by introducing some of their natural predators to your landscape. In particular, praying mantises, birds, cats, and chickens are some of the most effective predators when it comes to eliminating your grasshopper problems.
Steps to Prevent Them
The best way to avoid having your landscape ravaged by grasshoppers is by taking measures to keep them from wanting to inhabit your garden at all. Here are the grasshopper prevention methods we recommend the most:
- Garlic Spray is an easy and inexpensive way to deter grasshoppers from feeding off your plants. You can either make your own solution at home by blending two cloves combining with water in a spray bottle - or a purchase a ready-made solution here.
- Adding grasshopper-repelling plants to your landscape is one of the best ways to prevent them from inhabiting your yard in the first place. Plants like the Chinese brake fern, horehound, calendula, and cilantro naturally deter grasshoppers from your garden due to their strong scent and off-putting taste. Not only will these plants help enhance the bounty of your landscape, but they’ll also keep a variety of menacing bugs from feeding off your garden!