IDENTIFICATION — If you’ve walked through tall grass in the summer, you’ve seen grasshoppers leaping away in all directions. The one at left is a differential grasshopper, but there are many other species that range in color from yellow-green to brown, red-brown or black. Grasshoppers can be found in most parts of the United States and southern Canada.
DAMAGE — Most grasshoppers are serious pests of agricultural crops, but they’ll eat vegetables, fruits and flowers, too. Usually they’re rural pests, but have become much more common as more people garden in suburbs and on acreages. Grasshopper damage is usually only aesthetic, but in large numbers they can ruin fruits and vegetables.
CONTROL — Pesticides and beneficial pathogens that control grasshopper populations exist but are hard to use because they have to come in contact with the insect to work. Cover prized plants or vegetable crops with floating row covers or a fine wire mesh. Chickens and guinea fowl are also good natural grasshopper controls!