Grasshoppers galore in 2024 - Wise County Messenger (2024)

Well I’m going to use the G-word today, so get ready: Yes, grasshoppers!

They’re back. They have arrived a little early this year. I looked at several pastures this week and there are millions of little ones hopping around. So take a look in your pastures, hayfields, lawns and gardens and prepare to start battling them so we can get on top of controlling them and reduce populations.

I know, it seems like there is always something we have to treat for when it comes to farming, ranching, gardening and around the home. We have many insects and worms that can do some major damage to all of the above, if not controlled in a timely manner. Sometimes, when the weather is warm and humid, the natural enemies of grasshoppers like Fungus, Protozoa and Nematodes help control their populations. These are all forms of biological controls. Mechanical and cultural controls are other options that rarely work in my opinion, but hey it might for you.

The control option, that most everyone is forced to resign to at some point in time, is the chemical option. I know, nowadays the word chemical has become a cuss word so we use the term insecticides, and somehow that makes it better. Well, whatever floats your boat. Insecticides should be used properly according to the label directions. When label directions are followed and the proper equipment and clothing are used, you will be protected.

So now let’s talk about some of these insecticides that work in different applications. The ole standby’s, Sevin (with carbaryl) and Malathion, still lead the pack in effective control and as the most economical, plus there are no grazing or haying restrictions with these two for use on rangeland.

However for Sevin (carbaryl) there is a 14-day grazing and haying restriction if using on pasture for grasses grown for hay or seed. If you use them on your garden or fruit trees then make sure and wash the fruit good and you will be fine. Some prefer to use Sevin on their lawn and gardens because it is the safest for their children and pets and it doesn’t stink like malathion.

It is the safest and most economical, but do not apply to a vegetable garden within 14 days of harvest. For crops, pasture and rangeland, again Sevin XLR (44%, extra long residual) and Malathion work great, and so do products with Lambda-Cyhalothrin and all three are very economical to use but are contact only.

Cost on these range from $4-10/acre depending on rates used. Other products like Vantacor® and Coragen® (with RYNAXYPYR®) Chlorantraniliprole, at 18 percent and 48 percent respectively, are great products with the longest residual of up to 21-plus days. Still, it can be much more expensive at $20-48/acre depending on rates used. Both are an acceptable systemic pesticide for grasshopper control with minimal impact on other beneficial insects. My favorite, Besiege®, which is another great product that has Chlorantraniliprole3 at 9.26 percent, but also has Lambda-cyhalothrin at 4.63% added to it, provides both contact and residual action. Cost ranges from $10-15/acre. Do not exceed the total allowed amount of products per acre per year of any of these products. If you want a good growth regulator, try using Dimilin®. It must be applied when grasshoppers are about 1/4 inch and is not effective on adults.

There are other crop specific restrictions with these three so again, read the label before use. There are other insecticides out there like Baythroid XL, Karate Z, Mustang Max, Grizzly some with different active ingredients that may or may not work as well as the ones I have mentioned, so just be diligent, ask questions and read the product labels.

It is a good practice to rotate products each year and follow the Insect Resistance Management (IRM) practices. Remember try to avoid skin and eye contact and breathing vapors of any product but a little dab will likely not hurt you. On the other hand, if you drench yourself with any insecticide, it’s not healthy. Let me know if you have any questions or need help with anything. Do your homework, follow safety protocols, read the label and be careful out there! You’re the boss.

Marty Morgan is a County Extension Agent for Wise County. He was recently recognized with the Texas A&M AgriLife District 3 Excellence Award in Agriculture and Natural Resource programming.

Grasshoppers galore in 2024 - Wise County Messenger (2024)
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