grasshoppers, good or bad?



grasshoppers, good or bad?

Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:19 pm

are they a good bug or a bad bug in the garden?
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sheeshshe
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Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:48 pm

In my NJ garden, I only see 2 or 3 at a time. In addition to these classic large sort of rectangular grasshoppers, there are katydids, and small green crickets as well as tons of brown/black crickets. They don't do much harm here.

But I believe in midwestern states, the grasshoppers swarm in massive numbers and cause tremendous destruction and damage.
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applestar
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Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:09 pm

I don't like seeing grasshoppers in my garden, but it doesn't happen very often, in any case. In 1983, I visited Salt Lake City on the way to Denver.

Anyone who's visited Salt Lake City has probably seen the monument built to honor the seagulls. Here on the west coast, and in Florida, where I went to high school, they're almost a pest, but...

In May 1848, Mormon settlers in Utah were faced with crop failure because "locusts" (particularly large and voracious grasshoppers/katydids) were devouring the crops in the ground. This Plague of Locusts would have meant many deaths of men, women, and children.

When suddenly, on June 9, came an unprecedented sight: flocks of seagulls from the west (actually from the Great Salt Lake, but when travelling by foot, it's a LONG way from the foot of the Wasatch). These seagulls devoured the locusts/katydids, spared the crops which remained, and allowed the settlers to survive. In their gratitude to the seagulls, the settlers vowed to remember the seagulls "forever," and thus the seagull monument eventually was built (dedicated in 1913).

There are "folklore" accounts and "historical" accounts of this episode, but no one denies the essential facts: seagulls ate the vast majority of the insects and thereby preserved the crops.

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Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:16 pm

I have LOTS of them in my garden, this is why I ask. some that jump, soem that fly... etc. I just didnt know if I should try and get my chickens to eat them or not. only problem with that is they may do other damage in my garden, like eat my tomatoes etc... so yeah.
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sheeshshe
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Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:45 am

Grasshoppers have a voracious appetite and will eat many of your garden crops. If you only have a few it probably won't be noticed. In the West they can come in large swarms some years. I have quite a number of them on my place this year, but so far they are not doing me much damage. They seem to be mostly staying on the grassy areas. My suggestion, kill them if you can so they don't lay eggs. Flyswatter!
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jal_ut
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Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:30 pm

OK, so they ARE bad then... My almost 6y old likes to call it a fly slapper LOL! I should put him to the job, since we cant seem to catch them, I suppose we shall swat them! maybe that is what is eating all my plants to shreds... :roll: I was wondering what it was since I never see anything on the plants. stupid things.
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sheeshshe
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Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:39 pm

Are grasshoppers bad? No, they are evil, the spawn of Satan, and as destructive as a tornado! Can you tell we have lots of 'hoppers here in Texas?
They have eaten all the leaves off our new orchard trees, chewed the bark, almost stripped our rose bushes of leaves, and ate the squash leaves.
There are chemical sprays to control the littel devils, but the sprays are also lethal to the three Bs (butterflies, bees, and beneficials) so we don't use them. I think we can kiss our orchard goodbye, but the roses have been through this before and recovered.
Why Noah let those buggers on the ark I do not understand!
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Marlingardener
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Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:40 pm

ROFL!

OK, I will try and get rid of these pests then. I was wondering what the culprit was for my plants that have disappearing leaves. I have seen grasshoppers on the leaves before but didn't see them chomping down or anything, I but they did it though. the leaves are just completely gone pretty much. esp my sunflowers. :(
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sheeshshe
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Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:40 am

Here's a nice article on grasshopper control:

http://www.ghorganics.com/page12.html
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rainbowgardener
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Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:12 am

Get your 6 year old a little dip net from the dollar store and let him catch them for the chickens. Great protien for them. Really funny to watch the chickens practically hopping after them too.
Green Mantis
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Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:26 am

One thing to watch for is some of them have roundworms inside them. I found that out after catching a few in a container and seeing the worms escape the sickly grasshopper and die in the container. :x

If it weren't for that concern, I'd readily give grasshoppers to my cat to play with. He used to love catching grasshoppers and then eating them as a snack.

Back to topic:
Mostly bad.
Even so, I read an article questioning this and suggesting that they actually help some plants grow by feeding off some of their shoots.
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FieldofFlowers
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Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:40 am

Gosh I have never seen that before? But then never really had a good close up look either. I'll have to do that, catch some grasshoppers and look see???
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Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:58 am

It seems to be at the end of the season when I find diseased ones. They are easy to catch, don't hop off as quickly as healthy ones. Then again I used to catch a lot of grasshoppers throughout my childhood. Out of those, I've known distinctly three of them to have worms. One I put in water and a bunch of tiny worms came out...ewwww :x The other two had a larger worm. It emerged after the grasshopper died.

So yes if you plan to feed them to anything, you may want to either select what appear to be healthy ones (still taking a risk) or cook them first. Unfortunately my cat doesn't care for cooked grasshoppers. That is sort of a shame, because grasshoppers are high in protein and would make a good "healthy" snack and be better than those not so good byproduct junk stuff that are sold as "treats".

BTW, I did try to search for the article I mentioned earlier, but couldn't find it. I did find however that they do feed off noxious weeds that can be harmful to crops and cattle.

So I guess they aren't all bad.
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FieldofFlowers
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Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:10 pm

um, eww. I don't want to deal w/ my chickens getting worms!! I think I'll pass on letting them get the hoppers.... gross!
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sheeshshe
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Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:59 pm

I guess I'm lucky I rarely see any in my garden. When I do see one, I usually just leave it alone and I find that it eventually goes on its way. If you get lots of them, then you'd really start to have problems.
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