Grasshoppers’ range in size from small to large and are usually active in warm, dry weather, particularly during summer and early autumn. They may also be called locusts, especially when swarm and occur in plague proportions. They have chewing mouthparts that leave distinctive raged holes and chewed edges on leaves. They like to feed on flowers and foliage and can cause huge damage to crop. Grasshoppers lay their eggs in the soil and emerge when optimum soil moisture levels and temperatures occur.
Control can be difficult as these pests move quickly, so prevention rather than cure can sometimes help. Net vulnerable plants where possible and remove weeds to reduce their food supply. Many native birds as well as frogs and lizards will prey on grasshoppers, as will free-ranging backyard fowls like hens and ducks.
Physical control (such as catching) is often possible in the cool of the day when grasshoppers move more slowly. There are few insecticides registered to control grasshoppers in gardens.
A healthy garden can also help prevent pest infestation. If your plants are strong and healthy, they may be able to handle and reduce the stress of pests and diseases. Applying Seasol regularly every two weeks during the year can help them to cope with environmental stress. Keeping plants fed with fertilisers such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives, better watering and appropriate light exposure can also help build tougher plants.