A Grasshopper in the Garden

Insects in a garden are unavoidable, and over the past two months, I’ve dealt with several different insects in the garden.

While I expected to come across bugs, especially cabbage worms and loopers, I didn’t expect to see a grasshopper in the garden because this pest never came up in conversations with Jeanne Nolan or members of The Organic Gardener crew.

Since I had not been warned about grasshoppers, I figured it was OK if they were in the garden. Turns out I was wrong. Fortunately, Jeanne Nolan and Dani Hollis of The Organic Gardener were on hand when this grasshopper hopped in.

Hollis was quick to shoo the insect away, saying they could damage the plant and went back to tending the garden.

Curious about the damage grasshoppers could do to a garden, I did some research. According to the National Gardening Association, grasshoppers can chew plants to the ground and are often found on leaves, stems, fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and fruits of many flowers. 

Initial signs of feeding by young grasshoppers are jagged and tattered holes chewed in leaves, according to the NGA. When I spotted the grasshopper in our garden; it was on the stem of a Japanese eggplant. Fortunately, we got to the bug before it was able to do any damage.

To combat grasshoppers, the NGA suggests covering crops or applying Grasshopper protozoa (Nosema locustae), an insecticide which we will not be using since we have an organic garden. That said, I’ll be looking more closely at the stems of crops for pesky grasshoppers.

The National Gardening Association also said that grasshopper populations rise and fall; so hopefully, this year will not be a peak year for them.