Grasshoppers have been the bain of gardeners for centuries. These insects are responsible for consuming up to 25% of the available forage in the western half of the United States each year. That is a lot of food that could have been available to people and livestock.
A heavy grasshopper infestation can reduce a garden to stubble in a matter of days. It is important to stop grasshoppers in their tracks before the population gets out of control, but for many gardeners it is out of the question to use chemical pesticides.
Fortunately, there are organic products available that will kill grasshoppers before they can destroy crops. These products infect grasshoppers with a naturally occurring disease that is much like a bad case of grasshopper flu. The disease is called Nosema locustae and it infects over 90 species of grasshoppers and some crickets. People, pets, plants, and other insects are not affected by this grasshopper disease.
Nosema locustae is offered for sale in gardening catalogs and garden centers and is sold as Semaspore Bait or NoLo Bait. These products have a short shelf life of about eight weeks, so buy only as much as you need. It will keep up to five months if kept refrigerated.
Mike McGroarty is the owner of McGroarty Enterprises and the author of several books. You can visit his website at FreePlants.com and read his blog at MikeBackYardNursery.com.
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