Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bumper Crop

I wish I was referring to my garden....  NOT!!!
Can you see all the grasshoppers above???

It's like a plague!!  They're EVERYWHERE!!  They fly all around you when you walk outside!  I always thought they hopped around on the ground, but they can climb or fly up into trees.  They were all over the house and on every surface.  The sidewalks and the porch floor are covered with grasshopper poop!!  You can sweep it off one day and within a couple days it's back!!

 They're ravenous!!! 

What's on the menu???  ANYTHING!!!!  They have eaten 80% of the leaves on the BIG trees in the yard!!!  Do they eat the whole leaf???  NO!!  They chew across them and drop the rest down to the ground, so they waste a lot!!!! 

Our first attempt at control was to let the chickens come into the back yard, since their chicken yard had few grasshoppers .... they ate them!  We let them in every other day.  They ate plenty, but it was a drop in the bucket because they couldn't get to the ones up in the trees.  So Mike, the insecticide expert, obtained some super duper insect killer and sprayed the front and back yard.  Good stuff!!!  There were 1000s, maybe 10s of 1000s of dead and dying grasshoppers at the base of the trees!  We could have filled a couple of bushel baskets!   The only bad consequence was that the chickens snuck into the back yard one day!!  When I noticed them, I chased them back into their yard.  (Have you ever tried to herd a bunch of chickens???  It's a challenge!!!)  Unfortunately, within a few days, I lost 2 red hens!!  I think they ate too many poisoned grasshoppers.

As for my 'organic' garden, I had to succumb to using Sevin in an effort to control the ones in the garden.  It was a choice I had to make..... to kill some of the grasshoppers with hopes of harvesting some melons, tomatoes and beans or NOT!!  So, was it worth it?  We had ONE ear of corn each from 2 rows of corn!!!  We had ONE stew with fresh string beans in it since they killed over half of my string bean plants!!!  We've been luckier with tomatoes and melons.  The cucumbers took a hit too, although I think the heat got to them.  No pickles this year.  And thanks to a late frost, no wild plum jelly!!!

How did the pioneers ever make it out here???