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Grasshopper Management


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Grasshopper Management

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Grasshopper Management

  1. 1. GRASSHOPPER MANAGEMENT PEST MANAGEMENT TECHNICAL NOTE Abstract: Although grasshoppers are difficult to control, their impact can be minimized by preventive management over the long term. This publication outlines non-chemical strategies, including cultural and biological controls, available to the grower.Updated by Nancy MathesonNCAT Agriculture SpecialistSeptember 2003 Table of Contents Although the grasshopper occurs throughout Life cycle ................................................ 1the continental U.S., most of the damage it causesis restricted to “sub-humid, semi-arid” areas, ex- Weather .................................................. 2tending from Montana and Minnesota to Texas Cultural controls...................................... 2and New Mexico (1). Tillage ..................................................... 2 LI.E CYCLE Trap crops .............................................. 2 Predators ................................................ 2 There are three stages in a grasshopper’s Biological controls ................................... 3lifecycle, the egg, nymph (the young grasshop- Physical barriers and traps ..................... 3per), and the adult. Most grasshopper species Conclusion .............................................. 4over-winter as eggs, which are laid in clusters inlate summer and early fall and hatch in spring, References ............................................. 4when soil temperatures warm up. Internet resources ................................... 4 It takes approximately 40 to 60 days for the Suppliers of Nosema locustae ................ 5nymph to fully develop Suppliers ofinto an adult. During Beauveria bassianathis time, it sheds its ex- ............................. 5oskeleton several times Row covers .......... 5as it moves from onenymphal stage—calledan instar—to another.The best time to control It is helpful to obtainthe insect pest is during a positive identificationearly nymphal develop- of the grasshopper spe-ment, when it is most cies on the farm. Severalvulnerable to disease, hundred species ofparasites, predators, in- © grasshoppers occur insecticides, and inoppor- the United States, andtune weather. Adult grasshoppers are virtually not all of them are pestsimpossible to control, hence preventive manage- (2). Information on its life cycle will reveal whenment is of the essence. the pest is most vulnerable, and treatment may ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information service operated by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, through a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. These organizations do not recommend or endorse products, companies, or individuals. NCAT has offices in Fayetteville, Arkansas (P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702), Butte, Montana, and Davis, California.
  2. 2. be scheduled accordingly. Your local or state and sanitation procedures that reduce winter soilExtension service can help identify the grasshop- cover may not be compatible with the goals ofper species and provide information on its life sustainable farming and should be used sparingly.cycle. TRAP CROPS W EATHER Trap crops are small plantings established Grasshopper outbreaks are determined by a within or next to the main crop to draw the pestscomplex interaction of several factors, of which away and concentrate their populations whereweather is the most important (3). Warm and they can be destroyed. In spring, tilling all plantdry spring conditions encourage nymphal growth. matter will probably not work because nymphsAn early spring followed by cloudy, damp mobile enough to search for food will simplyweather encourages diseases that sicken and kill move to adjacent crops. Strips of vegetation lefthoppers. A long, hot summer ensures a plenti- untilled will concentrate their populations andful food supply and encourages early maturity make insecticide treatments, whether syntheticof grasshoppers and a long egg-laying period. or organic, more efficient.On the other hand, a cool summer and early fall In summer, when the surrounding rangelandslows down grasshopper maturity and reduces vegetation begins to dry up, trap crops act as atime for laying eggs. barrier to migrating grasshoppers (5). In the case of a market garden, an irrigated “greenbelt” along CULTURAL CONTROLS the perimeter acts as a trap crop for migrating grasshoppers when the surrounding vegetation The long-term control of grasshoppers is pos- begins to dry up in late summer. The annualsible through the use of cultural practices like kochia (Kochia scoparia) is attractive to the grass-tillage, fall clean-up, trap cropping, early seed- hopper and reportedly works well as a sheltering, and early harvest. The use of these tools belt (6). Grasshoppers dislike cilantro, and somemay be guided effectively by fall egg counts and organic growers suggest planting a wide barrierregular scouting to identify hatching locations. of the crop for protection (7).Cultural measures, in conjunction with biologi-cal controls and practices that increase farmbiodiversity, provide good sustainable control in P REDATORSthe long run. Natural predators and parasites rank next in Grasshoppers breed and grow in weedy, un- importance to weather in keeping grasshopperdisturbed areas like roadside ditches, fence rows, populations in check. In addition to IPM pro-untilled pastures, and in crops that stay around grams that reduce pesticide usage, actions thatfor more than a single growing season. increase the numbers of beneficial insects and A survey of the area after the eggs hatch helps other organisms in the agro-ecosystem must beto ascertain where populations are developing. encouraged. For additional information, seeOptimal control is possible when the insects are ATTRA’s publications Farmscaping to Enhance Bio-still immature and restricted to their breeding logical Control and Biointensive Integrated Pest Man-areas. Growers may use organically approved agement. Crop rotation and other organic prac-botanical products like sabadilla or pyrethrin to tices that increase bio-diversity offer a certainknock down nymphs in the first or second instar. degree of protection against pests. Grasshop- TILLAGE pers are drawn to monocultures and dislike ni- trogen-fixing crops like peas and sweet clover (8). Rotation, cover cropping, and other prac- Tillage in late summer discourages females tices that promote bio-diversity make farm habi-from laying eggs in the ground. It also destroys tats more attractive to the host of natural preda-eggs by exposing them to the weather, preda- tors and parasites that control localized grass-tors, and parasites. Spring tillage is effective pri- hopper infestations.marily because it eliminates food sources for the Domesticated poultry like chickens, turkeys,newly hatched nymphs (4). However, fall tillage guinea fowl, geese, and ducks are good for keep-PAGE 2 //GRASSHOPPER MANAGEMENT
  3. 3. ing grasshopper populations in check, although Fraser University at tend to damage the plants in the garden too. bisc-842/michael/web_page/antifeed.htm.One way to handle this is to confine the birds tothe greenbelt. Another is to enclose them in wirefencing along the perimeter so that they can prey PHYSICAL BARRIERS AND TRAPSon visiting grasshoppers while staying out of the References to mechanical trapping of grass-crop. hoppers in the literature date as far back as 1877. An early incarnation of the ‘hopper dozer’ was a BIOLOGICAL CONTROLS metal scoop coated with tar that was dragged across the fields to trap grasshoppers (11). A A well-known biological control for grasshop- more contemporary, low-tech version of the hop-pers is Nosema locustae, a naturally occurring pro- per dozer consists of a tractor that has a longtozoan that causes disease and death in crickets narrow trough hooked on the front end. Theand grasshoppers. Spores of the parasite are trough has a 3’ screen in the back and is filledimpregnated into wheat bran flakes and applied with dry ice or water laced with kerosene. Whenon the field. It takes one to three weeks for the the trough is pushed across the field, the hop-grasshoppers to be infected. Following inges- pers jump up and slap against the screen and falltion, the spore ruptures and activates the dis- in to the trough where they are chilled by the dryease in the grasshopper. Infected individuals are ice or drown in the water (12). The hopper dozerlethargic and slow, making them easy prey for only eases pest pressure; it does not controlbirds. Nosema locustae is not toxic to birds, ani- grasshoppers, nor can it prevent additional inva-mals, or other insects. sions from surrounding areas. Growers are advised to locate spring hatch- Another tool called the hopper whopper wasing areas. Bait broadcast over these locations will built by Vern Erickson (13), a Minnesota farmer,sicken and kill the nymphs. Nosema is effective to reduce grasshopper populations on his CRPagainst adults too but most effective against the acreage. An article titled “Hopper Whoppersecond and third instars. Reports on the success Keeps CRP Acres Grasshopper-Free,” publishedof N. locustae are mixed. It is not a good “res- in the magazine Farm Show, has the followingcue” treatment and will not result in instant adult description (14):mortality. According to Jerome Onsager, one ofthe first Nosema researchers at the USDA Range- Erickson built his “hopper whopper” by sus-land Insect Laboratory in Bozeman, Montana, pending six rows of tires from a 14-ft. long, 4 byNosema was developed as a long-term manage- 4 in. toolbar that attaches to the front-end loaderment tool, not to provide instant control. Onsager on his…tractor. A pair of brackets welded to thesays that Nosema research has been most success- top of the bar fasten with pins to the loaderful on rangeland. Information on the USDA’s arms.grasshopper IPM project is available from Re-search Entomologists Jerry Onsager or David There are five tires per row. The wheel rims ofBranson (9). all five tires in each stack are welded together, The Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge in and the top rim on each row is bolted to an oldnortheastern New Mexico has reported good suc- carwheel hub. The hub’s spindle is welded to thecess with Nosema as part of an overall effort to- steel bar, allowing each stack of tires to spinward sustainable agriculture. For additional in- freely. An orbit motor mounted on the steel barformation, contact Patricia Hoban, Manager (10). and connected to a gearbox (salvaged from the The fungus Beauveria bassiana is yet another straw spreader off a…combine) drives a rollerbiopesticide registered for grasshopper control. chain that’s wrapped around a top tire on theSuppliers of the product are listed at the end of third stack in from one end. This “drive” tirethis publication. causes all of the other tires to rotate, with each Neem has not shown much success as an anti- pair of tires turning inward. Chains hangingfeedant against grasshopper species in the United from a rod out in front of the tires drag throughStates but has promise as a growth regulator. A the grass and cause grasshoppers to jump up sosummary of this subject is available on an Internet they can be caught and crushed by the rotatingsite maintained by Michael Bomford of Simon tires. //GRASSHOPPER MANAGEMENT PAGE 3
  4. 4. Erickson uses the rig early in the season, when 6) Rateaver, Bargyla, and Gylver. 1993. Thethe nymphs are still young and cannot fly out of Organic Method Primer Update. Thethe way. Rateavers, San Diego, CA. p. 89. During particularly bad infestations, market 7) Cooper, S. 1994. Tales from the grass-gardeners may use row covers and protective hopper wars. The Farm Connection.screens to temporarily exclude pests from spe- Volume 2, No. 6. p. 2.cific plants or an entire garden. Suppliers of rowcovers are listed at the end of this publication. 8) Groenen, Wilma. 1992. Living with grasshoppers. Synergy. Winter. p. 22-26. C ONCLUSION 9) Jerome Onsager/ David Branson 1500 Northcentral Avenue A healthy and diverse farm environment usu- Sydney, MT 59270ally discourages the build-up of a lasting pest 406-482-2020infestation. Improving the bio-diversity on thefarm will be the single most important step to 10) Maxwell NWRtake. Cultural practices that increase organic P.O. Box 276matter in the soil and make habitat more attrac- Maxwell, NM 87728tive to predators improve the vigor and resis- Phone and FAX: 505-375-2331tance of the farm. Some cultural practices such 11) Editor. 1877. St. Paul Pioneer Pressas fall tillage may be inconsistent with long-term Editorial. May 31. Newspaper Microfilmssustainable farming. These practices should be Collections State Archives, Minnesotaviewed as transitional or ‘rescues’ and phased Historical Society. No page #.out over time. 12) Rateaver, Bargyla, and Gylver. 1993. The R E.ERENCES Organic Method Primer Update. The Rateavers, San Diego, CA. p. 328.1) 13) Vern Erickson grasshoppers.html Route 1, Box 205 Pest management information from the Fertile, MN 56540 National IPM Network, a cooperative 218-945-6617 effort of the NC Coop Extension Service 14) Anon. Hopper whopper keeps CRP acres and the NSF Center for IPM located at grasshopper-free. Farm Show. Vol. 15(5). North Carolina State University. p. 36. A copy of the article may be ob-2) Anon. 1992. Grasshoppers a recurrent tained from: problem with no perfect solutions. Grow- Farm Show ing for Market. June. p. 9. 20088 Kenwood Trail3) Gregoire, Terry (ed.) ProCrop 1998. Area P.O. Box 1029 Extension Specialist/Cropping Systems, Lakeville, MN 55044 Devils Lake, ND. http:// 800-834-9665 procrop/ins/grassp05.htm INTERNET RESOURCES4) insects/ 62010120.html#management nf328.htm Grasshoppers — Clear-winged Camnula Hagen, A., J.B. Campbell, D.L. Keith. A Guide pellucida. Information maintained by Jim to Grasshopper Control in Cropland, Jones. Revised December 6, 1995. NebGuide, Cooperative Extension, Univer-5) University of California Statewide IPM sity of Nebraska-Lincoln. #G86-791-A. Project (ed.) UC Pest Management Guide- lines, University of California Statewide IPM Project. Updated December 1997.PAGE 4 //GRASSHOPPER MANAGEMENT
  5. 5. IFM pathogens/entomophaga_grylli.html 1422 N. Miller Street Ste. 8 Weeden, Shelton, and Hoffman (eds.) Bio- Wenatchee, WA 98801 logical Control: A Guide to Natural Enemies 800-332-3179; FAX 509-662-6594 in North America. Cornell University. M&R Durango, Inc. P.O. Box 886 7-14Treat_Grasshoppers.html Bayfield, CO 81122 Ag Answers, a collaborative effort of Purdue 800-526-4075; FAX 970-259-3857 University and The Ohio State University. Gardens Alive 5100 Schenley Place 05536.html Lawrenceburg, IN 47025 Granshaw, W.S., and J.L. Capinera. Grass- 812-537-8650; FAX 812-537-5108 hopper Control. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. SUPPLIERS O. BEAUVERIAhttp:// BASSIANA Florida Agricultural Information Retrieval System. Troy Biosciences, Inc. 2620 N., 37th Drive Phoenix. AZ 85009 procrop/ins/grassp05.htm 800-448-2843, 602-233-9047; FAX 602-254-7989 Pest management information from the Na- tional IPM Network, a cooperative effort of Hydro-Gardens, Inc. the NC Coop Extension Service and the NSF P.O. Box 25845 Center for IPM located at North Carolina State Colorado Springs, CO 80936 University. 719-495-2266 or 888-693-0578; FAX 719-495-2266 or 800-694-6362 ins/grassp05.htm The Green Spot, Ltd. Gregoire, Terry (ed.) ProCrop 1998. Area Dept. of Bio-Ingenuity Extension Specialist, Crop Production, Dev- 93 Priest Road ils Lake, ND. Nottingham, NH 03290 603-942-8925 62010120. html#management Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Devel- ROW COVERS opment American Agrifabrics 1282 Old Alpharetta Road SUPPLIERS O. NOSEMA LOCUSTAE Alpharetta, GA 30202 800-565-5151; 803-772-3222Planet Natural (formerly Bozeman Bio-Tech)1612 Gold Ave Gardens AliveBozeman, MT 59715 5100 Schenley Place800-289-6656 Lawrenceburg, IN 47025Fax: 406-587-0223 812-537-8650; FAX 812-537-5108Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery3244 Hwy. 116 3244 Hwy. 116N. Sebastopol, CA 95472 N. Sebastopol, CA 95472707-823-9125; FAX: 707-823-1734 707-823-9125; FAX: 707-823-1734 //GRASSHOPPER MANAGEMENT PAGE 5
  6. 6. Peaceful Valley Farm SupplyPO Box 2209125 Springhill Blvd.Grass Valley, CA 95945530-272-4769; 1-888-784-1722Original publication by Radhika BalaUpdated by Nancy MathesonNCAT Agriculture SpecialistSeptember 2003 IP145/111 The electronic version of Grasshopper Management is located at: HTML PDF 6 //GRASSHOPPER MANAGEMENT