Grasshoppers

What Is A Grasshopper’s Favourite Sport?… Cricket!

 It is amazing what a little rain can do to clear up the smokey sky although I’m sure the wind made a bit of difference as well and made the fires much more aggressive.  It is good to know that most of Vernon is off evacuation alert now and hopefully this fire can be brought under control for the sake of Armstrong and area.

One thing that I have noticed this summer is a larger population of grasshoppers, Armstrong has been particularly hit with an abundance of them but If you have been watching the news at all Lethbridge has become overrun with them to the point of nightmare.  I would not be able to leave the house if we were to endure such an invasive amount but I guess there would be not need to leave the house because gardening would be futile with the damage that would be done by those kind of numbers of Grasshoppers. A friend in this area was telling me that their farm seems to have an abundance of Grasshoppers this year but the birds are gobbling them up rapidly and  although I am experiencing some damage to plants, this year in our area it has been quite modest.  The grasshopper population supposedly peaks in a 7 year cycle and that weather is the main factor in their successful numbers which is usually a few years of hot, dry summers and warm falls. 

Like are predicted and seem to be occurring in our area over the last few years.  Dry weather allows both the nymphs and adults survive and warm falls allows their numbers to multiply.  They grow from egg to nymph and then to adulthood within a 5 month period, the adult laying eggs every three to four days.  They feed mostly during the day but will dine at night as well if the need is there.   Certain varieties that exist and under certain circumstances will forsake their solitary behaviour and create swarms that go through changes in size and colour to become locusts which can cause great damage to crops as has been seen in several countries over the years.  This is not the type of Grasshoppers we have here, thank heavens.  

Although the populations we have seen this year( except for Lethbridge and area) it is far from the decimation Locusts can cause.  It would be hard to see all your plants reduced to a stumps in very short period of time.  There are a few companion plants that can help like cilantro and calendula but by the time the grasshoppers are a pest it is almost too late to put this into action.  A spray of 1 cup cider vinegar to 3 cups water with a squirt of soap sprayed in the early morning on and around  the plants will help to deter them.  A garlic spray using 2 cups ground garlic with 10 cups water brought to a boil then cooled then added to a ratio of 1 part solution to 3 parts water can be used as well.  This stored in a dark cool place will be good for a couple of weeks.  One other solution that I particularly like is to sprinkle flour on the plants being affected unlike the rye flour used to combat the cabbage moth, any flour will work.  The flour will gum up the grasshopper’s mouth and it makes it impossible for them to eat and therefore it is their demise.  Chickens will be delighted to gobble them up but then they will cause unwanted damage in their efforts.  Stepping on them is tricky but I’ve found by the third jump I win!! 

Hopefully we will be back at the Oval on Saturday, this excessive heat and smoke make for a tough time getting ready and being at the market for vendors and clients as well.     

Samantha Nason
BS Ranch & Greenhouses
250 547 6567 • samanthanason@hotmail.com

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