Grasshoppers are locusts, which are also particularly dangerous pests for outdoor grown cannabis. They can either infect a particular area, but they are also capable of traveling long distances. And they are also particularly fond of eating cannabis. They love marijuana seedlings in particular. As nocturnal creatures who mainly feed during the night, they can wipe out an entire crop while you sleep.

You know if you have grasshoppers even before they damage your crops because of the noises they make. These insects both lay eggs in soil during late summer, which will survive the winter if left undisturbed. They tend to hatch in the mid to late spring and mature over the next month to six weeks before becoming adults. Female grasshoppers can lay up to 400 eggs in favourable conditions.

Like all infestations, it is best to catch them early. Luckily, there are several things you can do to prevent your crops from being destroyed by these annoying pests.

SOIL CARE

The first thing to do is clear grass away from your growing area. Grasshoppers love grass. If you cultivate a patch of grass far away from your crops, they will be attracted to that rather than your crops.

Tilling your soil in autumn may also help expose and destroy grasshopper eggs. In the spring, till your soil again. You can also introduce living fungi spores which kill some types of grasshoppers.
Having biologically active soil also encourages the growth of organisms that cause diseases in grasshoppers.

PESTICIDES

Cannabis gardeners can use a variety of commercially available pesticides to protect their crops. They can be either sprayed on the crops themselves or on the surrounding soil. The downside of course is that such protection does not last very long (about 24 hours), so this is a solution that has to be completed about once a day.

Garlic spray is also very effective against grasshoppers. They don’t like either the smell or taste of the bulb. This can also be made at home very easily by crushing garlic cloves into either mineral oil or water. Then let the substance sit for about a day before using it. If you don’t want to make this at home, there are also several commercial varieties available at most garden supply stores.

Vinegar is also a very effective solution to keep grasshoppers at bay. Mix with water and spray on your crops as needed.

Hot pepper wax also works as an excellent repellent. This can be bought commercially.

COMPANION CROPS

Planting companion crops is also another way to prevent this type of pest. Crops such as cilantro, peas and sweet clover discourages infestations because grasshoppers do not like the smell or taste of these plants. A barrier border of several centimetres is usually sufficiently thick to be effective.

grasshopper cannabis
Dusting your plants with flour is also highly effective protection against grasshoppers. Flour gums up and blocks their mouths and prevents them from eating. This is devastating because most grasshoppers eat the equivalent of their body weight every day. When you use this method, however, be sure to use only all-purpose flour. Self-rising flour can contain salts which can then ruin the plants you are putting it on.

KEEP FOWL AND GUINEA PIGS

Ducks, chickens and turkey are all very effective at keeping grasshoppers at bay. They can act as a defensive “moat” to keep the pests from ever reaching your garden. Surround your garden with two parallel rows of chicken wire fencing and allow the fowl free run in this alleyway. They will catch grasshoppers which attempt to get to your garden.

Guinea pigs are also very effective, as they love to eat grasshoppers. The one drawback? They can be a little noisy.

BUILD BIRD PERCHES

Birds are one of the best natural predators you can encourage to protect your crops. By studding your garden with trellises, posts and other upright structures, you can both attract birds, and help them feed on grasshoppers more efficiently.

GRASSHOPPER BAITS

Failing these protective approaches, you can also buy grasshopper baits. The baits work by passing on a disease from one grasshopper to another. It is also more effective in getting rid of younger rather than mature insects. Setting out this kind of bait, however, is not a short term solution. It will take multiple applications of bait to reduce the pest population to a reasonable level. If you have just started to notice a problem, you will need to spread bait around the affected area on an ongoing basis.

USE ROW COVERS

One of the best ways to prevent grasshoppers from even getting access to your plants is also to cover them with a barrier such as a lightweight cloth. Build stakes and hoops that you then rest the cloth on as a natural barrier to all insects. That said, it is necessary to constantly check if the cloth is intact. Grasshoppers have been known to eat their way through such protective barriers.

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