How to control grasshoppers in your garden and landscape

Having a dearth of grasshoppers is understandably upsetting to any gardener – we know firsthand the damage they cause to the crops we’re working hard to cultivate.

Controlling grasshoppers in the garden can be challenging, but there are strategies you can try to minimize their damage and keep their populations in check:

  1. Remove Habitat: Grasshoppers prefer to lay their eggs in undisturbed soil, so by tilling or cultivating the soil around your garden beds in the fall and spring, you can disrupt their reproductive cycle and reduce their numbers.
  2. Natural Predators: Encourage natural predators of grasshoppers, such as birds, frogs, toads, and predatory insects like praying mantises, lacewings, and predatory beetles, to inhabit your garden. Providing habitat, such as birdhouses, birdbaths, and insect hotels, can attract these beneficial creatures to your garden.
  3. Companion Planting: Planting companion plants that repel grasshoppers or attract their natural enemies can help deter them from your garden. Examples of companion plants include marigolds, calendula, cilantro, dill, and fennel. Additionally, planting diverse mixtures of crops can help confuse and deter grasshoppers.
  4. Natural Repellents: Some natural substances can repel grasshoppers and discourage them from feeding on your plants. Spraying plants with solutions made from garlic, hot peppers, neem oil, or kaolin clay can make them less appealing to grasshoppers. However, be sure to test these repellents on a small area of your plants first to ensure they do not cause damage.
  5. Biological Control: Consider introducing biological control agents, such as the grasshopper-specific fungus Beauveria bassiana or the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae, to your garden. These natural enemies can help reduce grasshopper populations without harming other beneficial insects or plants.
  6. Organic Insecticides: If grasshopper populations are particularly high or if other control methods have been ineffective, consider using organic insecticides derived from botanical oils or microbial agents. These products are less harmful to beneficial insects and the environment than chemical insecticides but should still be used with caution and according to label instructions.

Two excellent articles with more ideas for reducing grasshoppers in the garden and here and here.

NOTE:  One of the best, most effective products sold for grasshopper control is Nolo Bait out of Durango, Colorado. The company is not able to sell Nolo Bait this year, due to a fire that destroyed their facility several years ago. They have been unable to successfully launch from their new location and sadly, the company is unsure of any future operations.