Practice Organic Grasshopper Control for a Healthy Garden

Grasshopper damage can devastate organic gardens, particularly in areas with hot, dry weather. Learn how to use floating row covers and other techniques for effective natural grasshopper control.

| April 16, 2013

This article is part of our Organic Pest Control Series, which includes articles on attracting beneficial insects, controlling specific garden pests, and using organic pesticides.

About Grasshoppers

Wherever you find grass, you will also find grasshoppers, and a few of the hundreds of grasshopper species found in North America can be major garden pests. Cool, rainy summers cause many grasshoppers to fall prey to disease, while hot, dry weather can lead to major grasshopper headaches. 

Grasshoppers weaken plants by removing plant tissue, and they are especially damaging to lettuce, beans, corn, carrots, onions and cabbage family crops grown for fall harvest. Organic controls for grasshoppers include excluding them with row cover or screen barriers, controlled poultry predation, and inoculation of the soil with microorganisms that kill young grasshoppers. Grasshoppers are found throughout the world, and are most problematic in areas where wild grasses dry up in summer, causing the hoppers to move to lush, moist gardens.

Ancient insects that have inhabited Earth for more than two million years, plagues of grasshoppers have been responsible for many famines. More typically, grasshoppers fly into gardens in late summer and chew up plant leaves. 

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