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Why Are There So Many Grasshoppers This Year and How Do I Get Rid of Them?

grasshopper
Flickr user iceberg_ca

Those are the two questions I asked of Marty New the OSU Extension Officer for Comanche County. I have his number on speed dial on my phone. 

Marty explained “With the timely rainfall and the continuing drought conditions it has created the perfect storm for grasshoppers.” He went on to say that we don’t have it as bad as the eastern counties like Stephens County. “They are eating gardens down to the ground, it seems almost overnight.”

Every time I talk about the grasshoppers at the Mace Place I immediately receive emails, Facebook message and text messages to find out what I used to get rid of them.

Cyonara Lawn & Garden
Martinsbrand.com

The first product I tried was Martin’s Cyonara Lawn & Garden.  I purchased it from the Lawton Co-op on Sheridan Road.  I just attached it to my garden hose and sprayed all the plants around the house that I wanted to keep the grasshoppers off of.  My tomato plant, flowers and bushes.  I lost all my plants last year and I wasn’t going to lose them again this year.  It seems that they are a little worse this year than last year.

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The spray pilots came out and sprayed our hay pastures and I think they pushed them all back into my yard after they sprayed because they were horrible again by this last Sunday.

Bayer Complete Killer
bayeradvanced.com

Since we were coming into town for supplies I decided to check to see if Atwoods  carried the Martin’s brand but found a Bayer brand insect killer instead. They both do the same thing…kill insects. They will help to keep the ticks and fleas away from the house as well.

Marty said “There are a lot of good products out there. Ask the person you are buying your chemicals from. They will be able to help you choose the product that is best for your situation.”

I was asked which one I thought worked best and they both appeared to kill the grasshoppers on contact. I can’t tell you which one lasts longer because I just used the Bayer brand and the Cyonara didn’t have a chance once the spray pilots came in with their chemicals.

Here is something interesting I learned about grasshoppers:

As the grasshoppers crowd together, something shifts. The insects, which normally live alone, begin bumping into one another. When grasshoppers touch one another’s hind legs, the contact sets off hormonal changes: The adults’ neutral brown coloring is replaced with a fearsome bright yellow, and they become “gregarious” group insects, coordinating their growth, behavior and egg laying. When the swarm devours all of the surrounding vegetation, it takes to the air, traveling up to 100 miles a day in search of its next meal.

Marty also said that if you are next to a pasture of any kind you will be affected differently than those who live on a lot in the city.  You have to create a barrier between you and the pasture.  I had sprayed the lawn about 50 feet around the house and when David walked out to get the mail you could see EXACTLY where I had not sprayed. As soon as he crossed that invisible barrier the grasshoppers were thick.

Do your research and you’ll find the best product for you. Ask your local extension officer. The Comanche County OSU Extension office is located at 611 SW C Avenue and can be reached during normal business hours at (580) 355-1176.  Here is a link to the Comanche County OSU Extension Office website.

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