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Grasshopper Control Without Chemicals

Mother Nature has invented her own method of grasshopper control, and you can use it too.

| June/July 2009

  • grasshopper control
    This method of grasshopper control is too clumsy, limited, and slow, but a pathogen exists that is capable of dealing with the problem they might pose to your garden.
    PHOTO: FOTO66/FOTOLIA

  • grasshopper control

If you expect trouble from grasshoppers in your area this summer, check out a unique organic pesticide marketed as Nolo Bait or Semaspore Grasshopper Control. Both products contain spores of a naturally occurring grasshopper disease called Nosema locustae in a bran bait.

The grasshoppers become infected when they eat the bait. The disease is slow-acting but spreads gradually, usually causing about 50 percent mortality after two weeks and reduced hatches the year after application.


Cheryl Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a team of editors which produces high quality content that has resulted in MOTHER EARTH NEWS being rated as one North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years. Connect with her on .

LindaJoyAdams
4/3/2015 2:06:22 PM

Thanks for the info that bees are not harmed. ,


Ashok_1
7/25/2010 6:32:15 AM

Hi Anne, For your information, Neem oil does not kills the friendly organisms like earthwors, spiders and honey bees. Also neem oil does not induces resistances. But the on the way the pests may create resistance to biotic organism (spores, virus) that attachs its generation. Ashok


Lee Anne Merrill
6/11/2009 3:23:44 PM

Hi, This message is to clarify a comment made by Ashkok that Nosema spores found in Nolo Bait which is used for grasshopper control could also infect honeybees and other beneficial insects. Nosema locustae which is the spore used in Nolo Bait has been scientifically studied for its effects on non-target organisms including honeybees. The writer was correct that there is a species of Nosema spore which will infect honeybees but it is not the Nosema locustae found in Nolo Bait. Nosema locustae found in Nolo Bait is an obligate pathogen of grasshoppers meaning that it cannot reproduce in any other organism but grasshoppers. It has been tested extensively and proven to be inert in any other organism. Also, it does do all three things the writer was asking about. It naturally suppresses grasshopper appetites, it also naturally interferes with growth in that infected grasshoppers do not molt and mature as they normally would and those who become infected late in their maturation process will pass the organism on through the egg laying process. The organism is non toxic to any animal (ie: a chicken feeding on an infected hopper) and will pass through their feces to persist in the soil which can also be a plus if an egg pod is laid in the soil because hatching young will be exposed and can become infected also. So, Nosema locustae found in Nolo Bait, which is naturally occurring in the environment, does not harm other organisms, contributes to reduced foraging and reproduction naturally, and it is a long-term management tool that has no negative impact on the environment. Neem oil, on the other hand, can kill friendly insects as well as the target pest insects. Thank you, Lee Anne Merrill, manufacturer of Nolo Bait






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