Grasshoppers and Locusts

Grasshoppers or Locusts are transient pests that can attack all fruit trees. Grasshoppers and locusts are closely related members of the family Acrididae. They both have chewing mouthparts that leave distinctive ragged holes and chewed edges on leaves. 

Although grasshoppers are present every year, their numbers vary, depending on environmental conditions. Weather that leads to high populations of grasshoppers features warm, extended autumns followed by dry, warm spring seasons.

Grasshopper and locust species are most likely to cause problems in gardens include the Wingless Grasshopper of south-eastern Australia and south-west Western Australia; the Plague Locust and Spur-Throated Locust of inland Australia; and the Giant Grasshopper of northern Australia.

Plant Parts: Leaves but can feed on tender bark, stems and even fruit.

Season: Summer to Autumn

Symptoms: You will notice that you Fruit Salad Tree has bite marks in the leaves, gouged fruit, and/or has skeletonised foliage. Grasshoppers are capable of causing significant damage if large populations develop.

Control: The simplest thing to do is net vulnerable plants where practical. 

A great solution is Dipel (An organic powder). Check with your local nursery for other regional treatments. Insecticides that control grasshoppers must be reapplied often to control reinvasion.

Preventative: Grasshoppers and locusts are most common during the warmer months, and during drought periods our gardens are a magnet for grasshoppers and locusts. Grasshoppers and locusts have many natural enemies and it is a good idea to encourage them into your garden. Look at companion planting ideas; grasshoppers hate coriander & marigolds so maybe try planting some in your garden. Encourage beneficial wasps and flies by minimising the use of broad-spectrum insecticides, by not removing wasp nests, and by providing flowering plants as a nectar source. If you do experience a rare locust swarm, it’s important to know that locusts usually feed and move on.

References: Garden Guides, Yates, and the FST team.

 

 

 

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