Grasshoppers Affecting Hopkins County
Dr. Mario A. Villarino, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources
I recently visited a landowner because he was having problems with grasshoppers. He followed a rigorous schedule with insecticides to control the pest. He mentioned several problems in his vegetables, landscape and pecans. At this point, insecticides labeled for grasshopper control seems to be working, but in some cases, the amount of grasshoppers can overwhelm even the best control program. This seems to be the case I am referring to. After witnessing the effect of a insecticide application, many grasshopper were dying due to the effect of the application. However, due to the proximity of abandoned land, many were ready to feed on his plants. The differential grasshopper, cause of the damage reported, prefers weeded areas rather than grasslands. One way to control grasshopper populations is to eliminate sites where they might deposit eggs. Grasshoppers prefer undisturbed areas for egg laying, so tilling cropland in mid- to late summer discourages females. Tilling may reduce soil moisture and contribute to erosion, but those disadvantages must be weighed against potential grasshopper damage to the next crop. In Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage, tillage is not an option. However, plant tissue can be shredded to reduce the grasshopper food supply. Any implement pulled across CRP fields will crush many insects, but the cost of fuel might outweigh the benefits.
Controlling summer weeds in fallow fields has two benefits:
1) If grasshopper eggs are already in the field, there will be nothing for nymphs to feed on when
eggs hatch. 2) Fields will not be attractive to egg-laying adults because there is nothing on which to feed.
Also eliminate tall grass and weeds from around any plants you wish to protect (crops, trees and gardens).
This makes the area less attractive to grasshoppers and makes it easier for birds to prey on grasshoppers. It is important to remember that the residual effect of insecticides usually last up to five days, so landowners with high numbers of grasshoppers most maintain an insect control program often enough to ensure control of the pest. Increasing the area sprayed beyond the target plants or crops can also help. For more information on insecticide selection, control programs or any other agricultural question, please contact me at 903-885-3443 or email me at email@example.com